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Brigham Young University 
RARE BOOK COLLECTION 



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823.82 

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1848 

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Preparing for Publication, with Illustrations by the Author, 



THE 



GREAT HOGGARTY DIAMOND. 



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BY W. M. THACKERAY. 

Author of "5'anity Fair: " " The Snob Papers " in Punch, &c. &c. 



LONDON: BRADBURY AND EVANS, BOUVERIE STREET. 




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VANITY FAIR 



<& Nobel foitfjout a P?ero- 



BY 



WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY. 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS ON STEEL AND WOOD BY THE AUTHOR. 



LONDON: 
BRADBURY AND EVANS, 11, BOUVERLE STREET. 

1S4S. 



$ 



London : 

liP.ALEURY AND EVANS, PRINTERS, WHITEFRIArs. 



B. W. PROCTER 

THIS STORY IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED. 



BEFORE THE CURTAIN. 



As the Manager of the Performance sits before the 
curtain on the boards, and looks into the Fair, a feeling of 
profound melancholy comes over him in his survey of the 
bustling place. There is a great quantity of eating and drink- 
ing, making love and jilting, laughing and the contrary, 
smoking, cheating, fighting, dancing, and fiddling: there are 
bullies pushing about, bucks ogling the women, knaves picking 
pockets, policemen on the look-out, quacks [other quacks, 
plague take them ! ) bawling in front of their booths, and'yokels 
looking up at the tinselled dancers and poor old rouged 
tumblers, while the light-fingered folk are operating upon their 
pockets behind. Yes, this is Vanity Fair; not a moral place 
certainly ; nor a merry one, though very noisy. Look at the 
faces of the actors and buffoons when they come off from their 
business ; and Tom Fool washing the paint off his cheeks before 
he sits down to dinner with his wife and the little Jack 
Puddings behind the canvass. The curtain will be up presently, 
and he will be turning over head and heels, and crying, 
" How are you ? " 

A man with a reflective turn of mind, walking tlirough 



Vlll BEFORE THE CURTAIN. 

an exhibition of this sort, will not be oppressed, I take it, by 
his own or other people's hilarity. An episode of humour or 
kindness touches and amuses him here and there; — a pretty 
child looking at a gingerbread stall ; a pretty girl blushing 
whilst her lover talks to her and chooses her fairing ; poor Tom 
Fool, yonder behind the waggon, mumbling his bone with the 
honest family which lives by his tumbling; — but the general 
impression is one more melancholy than mirthful. When you 
come home, you sit down, in a sober, contemplative, not 
uncharitable frame of mind, and apply yourself to your books 
or vour business. 

I have no other moral than this to tag to the present 
story of " Vanity Fail"." Some people consider Pairs immoral 
altogether, and eschew such, with their servants and families : 
perhaps they are right. But persons who think otherwise and 
are of a lazy, or a benevolent, or a sarcastic mood, may perhaps 
like to step in for half an hour and look at the performances. 
There are scenes of all sorts; some dreadful combats, some 
grand and lofty horse-riding, some scenes of high life, and some 
of very middling indeed ; some love making for the sentimental, 
and some light comic business : the whole accompanied by 
appropriate scenery, and brilliantly illuminated with the 
Author's own candles. 

What more has the Manager of the Performance to say ? — 
To acknowledge the kindness with which it has been received 
in all the principal towns of England through which the Show 
has passed, and where it has been most favourably noticed 
by the respected conductors of the Public Press, and by the 
Nobility and Gentry. He is proud to think that his Puppets 
have given satisfaction to the very best company in this empire. 



BEFORE THE CURTAIN. IX 

The famous little Becky Puppet has been pronounced to be 
uncommonly flexible in the joints and lively on the wire : the 
Amelia Doll, though it has had a smaller circle of admirers, 
has yet been carved and dressed -with the greatest care by 
the artist : the Dobbin Figure, though apparently clumsy, yet 
dances in a very amusing and natural manner : the Little Boys J 
Dance has been liked by some ; and please to remark the richly 
dressed figure of the Wicked Nobleman, on which no expense 
has been spared, and which Old Nick will fetch away at the 
end of this singular performance. 

And with this, and a profound bow to his patrons, the 
Manager retires, and the curtain rises. 

LO.NDO.V, 

June 28, 1848. 



CONTENTS. 

CHAP. PAGE 

1. — CHJSWICK MALL , i .... 1 

2. — :IN WHICH MISS SHARP AND MISS SEDLET PREPARE TO OPEN THE 

CAMPAIGN 8 

3.— .REBECCA IS IN PRESENCE OF THE ENEMY 16 

4. — THE GREEN SILK PURSE 22 

5.— dobbjn Of ours. . , 33 

6. VA.UXHALL 43 

7. — CRAWLEY OF QUEES's CRAWLEY, 57 

8. — PRIVATE. AND CONFIDENTIAL 65 

9 .FAMILY PORTRAITS 73 

10. — MISS SHARP BEGINS TO MAKE FRIENDS 79 

11. ARCADIAN SIMPLICITY 84 

12. — QUITE A SENTIMENTAL CHAPTER 97 

13. — SENTIMENTAL 'AND OTHERWISE * 104 

14.— MISS -CRAWLEY AT HOME * .114 



Xll CONTENTS. 

CHAP. pAGE 

15. — in which bebecca's husband appears for a short time . . . 129 
16. — the letter on the pincushion . . . . . . , .137 

17. — how captain dobbin bought a piano 144 

18. — who played on the piano captain dobbin bought 1 .... 151 

19. miss crawley at nurse 161 

20. — in which captain dobbin acts as the messenger of hymen . .170 

21. a quarrel about an heiress 178 

22. — a marriage and part of a honeymoon 186 

23. — captain dobbin proceeds on his canvass 193 

24. — in which mr. osborne takes down the family bible . . .198 

25. — in which all the principal personages think fit to leave 

brighton 209 

26. — between london and chatham - . - 225 

27. — in which amelia joins her regiment ...... 232 

28. — in which amelia invades the low countries . . .... 238 

29. — brussels 246 

30.— "THE GIRL I LEFT BEHIND ME " 257 

31. — in which jos sedley takes care of his sister .... 265 

32. in which jos takes flight, and the war is brought to a close . 275 

33. — in which miss crawley's relations are very anxious about her . 289 

34. — james crawley's pipe is put out ... .... 298 

35. — WIDOW AND mother .......... 312 

36. — HOW TO LIVE WELL ON NOTHING A-TEAR ...... 321 



CONTEXTS. xiii 



CHAr. 



TAGS 



37. — THE SUBJECT CONTINUED 329 

38. — A FAMILY IN A VERY SMALL WAY 341 

39. — A CYNICAL CHAPTER 353 

40. — IN WHICH' BECKY IS RECOGNISED BY THE FAMILY 361 

41. — IN WHICH BECKY REVISITS THE HALLS OF HER ANCESTORS . . . ZG9 

42. — WHICn TREATS OF THE OSBORNE FAMILY 379 

43. — IN WHICH THE READER HAS TO DOUBLE THE CAPE 385 

44. — A ROUND-ABOUT CHAPTER BETWEEN LONDON AND HAMPSHIRE . ' . 393 

45. — BETWEEN HAMPSHIRE AND__LONDON 402 

46. — STRUGGLES AND TRIALS . . . . 410 

4". — GAUNT HOUSE 417 

43. — IN WHICH THE READER IS INTRODUCED TO THE VERY BEST OF 

COMPANY 425 

49. — IN WHICH WE ENJOY THREE COURSES AND A DESSERT . . . . 434 

50. — CONTAINS A VULGAR INCIDENT 44 

51. — IN WHICH A CHARADE IS ACTED WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT PUZZLE THE 

READER 449 

52. — IN WHICH LORD STEYNE SHOWS HIMSELF IN A MOST AMIABLE LIGHT . 4C4 

53. — A RESCUE AND A CATASTROPHE 473 

54. — SUNDAY AFTER THE BATTLE ......... 481 

55. — IN WHICH THE SAME SUBJECT IS PURSUED .... . . 489 

56. — GEORGY IS MADE A GENTLEMAN 502 

57. — EOTHEN 513 



XIV 



CHAP 

58. 



59. 



60. 



61. 



62. 



63. 



64, 



65. 



66, 



67. 



CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

OUR FRIEND THE MAJOR . • • . . • ♦ • .521 

THE OLD PUNO • ...«•...♦. 530 

RETURNS TO THE GENTEEL WORLD « 539 

IN WHICH TWO LIGHTS ARE PUT OUT • •••,.♦ 545 

* 

AH RHBIN • ♦ ♦ • 557 

IN WHICH WE MEET AN OLD ACQUAINTANCE . . . . . , 567 

A VAGABOND CHAPTER . . * ♦ . . . . . .577 

FULL OF BUSINESS AND PLEASURE . . • . . . • « 591 

4 

AMANTIUM IRM ........... 598' 

WHICH CONTAINS BIRTHS, MARRIAGES, AND DEATHS . . * 611 



LIST OF PLATES. 



The Letter before Waterloo 



Vignette Title-page 



Rebecca's Farewell 



Mr. Joseph entangled 



Mr. Joseph in a State of Excitement 



Miss Sharp in her School-Room 



Miss Crawley's affectionate; Relatives 



Mr. Osborne's Welcome to Amelia . 



The Note on the Pincushion 



Mr. Sedlet at the Coffee-House 



A Family Party at Brighton 



Mrs. O'Dowd at tiie Flower Market 



page 



Frontispiece. 



7 



32 



50 



Rebecca makes Acquaintance with a lite Baronet . . . . . 59 



80 



89 



109 



Lieutenant Osborne and his ardent Love-Letters 113 



140 



An Elephant for Sale . • • . . # . . . . . 145 



172 



Miss Swartz rehearsing for the Drawing-Room . « . . . 181 



Ensign Stubble practising the Art of War ...... 207 



213 



. 242 



Mrs. Osborne's Carriage stopping the Way • . . 255 



XVI LIST OF PLATES. 

PAGE 

Venus preparing the Armour of Mars 257 

Mr. Jos shaves off his Mustachios 279 

Mr. James's Pipe put out 307 

Major Sugarplums 319 

Mrs. Raw-don's Departure from Paris 327 

Georgy makes Acquaintance with a Waterloo Man .... 340 

The Ribbons Discovered in the Fact 359 

Sir Pitt's last Stage 362 

Glorvina tries her Fascination on the Major 387 

The Arrival at Queen's Crawley ....;... 400 

Becky in Lombard-Street 433 

Georgy goes to Church genteelly 448 

The Triumph of Clttemnestra 458 

Colonel Crawley is wanted 463 

Sir Pitt's Study Chair 482 

Georgy a Gentleman 502 

A Meeting 525 

Mr. Jos's Hookahbadar 533 

A fine Summer Evening 560 

Jos performs a Polonaise 569 

Becky's Second Appearance in the Character of Clytemnestra . . 623 

Virtue Rewarded ; a Booth in Vanity Fair ...... 624 






£Xp3 



m 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 



CHAPTER I. 




CHISWICK MALL. 

^•ss^fwi^rJ HILE the present century was in 
its teens, and on one sun-shiny 
morning in June, there drove 
up to the great iron gate of Miss 
Pinkerton's academy for young 
ladies, on Chiswick Mall, a large 
family coach, with two fat horses 
in blazing harness, driven by a 
fat coachman in a three-cornered 
hat and wig, at the rate of four 
miles an hour. A black servant, 
who reposed on the box beside 
the fat coachman, uncurled his 
bandy legs as soon as the equi- 
page drew up opposite Miss Pinkerton's shining brass plate, and as he 
pulled the bell, at least a score of young heads were seen peering out of 
the narrow windows of the stately old brick house. Nay, the acute 
observer might have recognised the bttle red nose of good-natured Miss 
Jemima Pinkerton herself, rising over some geranium-pots in the window 
of that lady's own drawing-room. 

" It is Mrs. Sedley's coach, sister," said Miss Jemima. " Sambo, the 
black servant, has just rung the bell ; and the coachman has a new red 
waistcoat." 

" Have you completed all the necessary preparations incident to Miss 
Sedley's departure, Miss Jemima?" asked Miss Pinkerton herself, that 
majestic lady : the Semiramis of Hammersmith, the friend of Doctor 
Johnson, the correspondent of Mrs. Chapone herself. 

" The girls were up at four this morning, packing her trunks, sister," 
replied Miss Jemima; "we have made her a bow-pot." 

B 



VANITY FAIR. 



" Say a bouquet, sister Jemima, 'tis more genteel." 

" Well, a booky as big almost as a bay-stack ; I have put up two 
bottles of the gillyflower-water for Mrs. Sedley, and the receipt for 
making it, in Amelia's box." 

" And I trust, Miss Jemima, you have made a copy of Miss Sedley's 




account. This is it, is it ? Very good — ninety-three pounds, four shil- 
lings. Be kind enough to address it to' John Sedley, Esquire, and to seal 
this billet which I have written to his lady." 

In Miss Jemima's eyes an autograph letter of her sister, Miss Pinker- 
ton, was an object of as deep veneration, as would have been a letter from 
a sovereign. Only when her pupils quitted the establishment, or when 
they were about to be married, and once, when poor Miss Birch died of 
the scarlet fever, was Miss Pinkerton known to write personally to the 
parents of her pupils ; and it was Jemima's opinion that if anything could 
console Mrs. Birch for her daughter's loss, it would be that pious and 
eloquent composition in which Miss Pinkerton annoimced the event. 

In the present instance Miss Pinkerton's "billet " was to the following 

" The Mall, Chiswick, June 15, 18—. 
"Madam, — After her six years' residence at the Mall, I have the 
honour and happiness of presenting Miss Amelia Sedley to her parents, 



A KOYEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 3 

<£ ' — ; — — ; 

as a young lady not unworthy to occupy a fitting position in their polished 
and refined circle. Those virtues which characterise the young English 
gentlewoman, those accomplishments which become her birth and station, 
will not be found wanting in the amiable Miss Sedley, whose industry 
and obedience have endeared her to her instructors, and whose delightful 
sweetness of temper has charmed her aged and her youthful companions, 

" In music, in dancing, in orthography, in every variety of embroidery 
and needle-work, she will be found to have realised her friends' fondest 
wishes. In geography there is still much to be desired; and a careful 
and undeviating use of the backboard, for four hours daily during the 
next three years, is recommended as necessary to the acquirement of that 
dignified deportment and carriage, so requisite for every young lady of fashion. 

" In the principles of religion and morality, ]\Iiss Sedley will be found 
worthy of an establishment which has been honoured by the presence of 
The Great Lexicographer, and the patronage of the admirable Mrs. Cha- 
pone. In leaving the Mall, Miss Amelia carries with her the hearts of her 
companions, and the affectionate regards of her mistress, who has the 
honour to subscribe herself, 

" Madam, 
"Your most obliged humble servant, 

" Barbara Pinkerton.'* 

" P.S. Miss Sharp accompanies Miss Sedley. It is particularly re- 
quested that Miss Sharp's stay in Bussell Square may not exceed ten days. 
The family of distinction with whom she is engaged, desire to avad them- 
selves of her services as soon as possible." 

This letter completed, Miss Pinkerton proceeded to write her own name,, 
and Miss Sedley's, in the fly-leaf of a Johnson's Dictionary — the inter- 
esting work which she invariably presented to her scholars, on their 
departure from the Mall. On the cover was inserted a copy of "Lines 
addressed to a young lady on quitting Miss Pinkerton's school, at the 
Mall ; by the late revered Doctor Samuel Johnson." In fact, the Lexi- 
cographer's name was always on the Hps of this majestic woman, and a 
visit he had paid to her was the cause of her reputation and her fortune. 

Being commanded by her elder sister to get "the Dictionaiy " from the 
cupboard, Miss Jemima had extracted two copies of the book from the 
receptacle in question. When Miss Pinkerton had finished the inscrip- 
tion in the first, Jemima, with rather a dubious and timid air, handed her 
the second. 

" Tor whom is this, Miss Jemima ? " said Miss Pinkerton, Avith awful 
coldness. 

" For Becky Sharp," answered Jemima, trembling very much, and 
blushing over her withered face and neck, as she turned her back on 
her sister. " For Becky Sharp : she's going too." 

" MISS JEMIMA ! " exclaimed Miss Pinkerton, in the largest capitals. 
" Are you in your senses ? Keplace the Dixonary in the closet, and never 
venture to take such a liberty in future." 

"Well, sister, it's oidy two-and-ninepence, and poor Becky will be 
miserable if she don't get one." 

b 2 



VANITY FAIR. 



"Send Miss SecHey instantly to me," said Miss Pinkerton. And so 
venturing not to say another word, poor Jemima trotted off, exceedingly 
flurried and nervous. 

Miss Sedley's papa was a merchant in London, and a man of some 
wealth ; whereas Miss Sharp was an articled pupil, for whom Miss Pink- 
erton had done, as she thought, quite enough, without conferring upon her 
at parting, the high honour of the Dixonary. 

Although Schoolmistresses' letters are to be trusted no more nor less 
than churchyard epitaphs ; yet, as it sometimes happens that a person 
departs this life, who is really deserving of all the praises the stone-cutter 
carves over his bones; who is a good Christian, a good parent, child, wife or 
husband; who actually does leave a disconsolate family to mourn Ids loss ; 
so in academies of the male and female sex it occurs every now and then, 
that the pupil is fully worthy of the praises bestowed by the disinterested 
instructor. Now, Miss Amelia Sedley was a young lady of this singular 
species ; and deserved not only all that Miss Pinkerton said in her praise, 
but had many charming quahties which that pompous old Minerva of a 
woman could not see, from the differences of rank and age between her 
pupil and herself. 

For she could not only sing like a lark, or a Mrs. Bihington, and dance 
like Hillisberg- or Parisot ; and embroider beautifully ; and spell as well as 
the Dixonary itself; but she had such a kindly, smiling, tender, gentle, 
generous heart of her own, as won the love of everybody who came near 
her, from Minerva herself down to the poor girl in the scullery, and the 
one-eyed tartwoman's daughter, who was permitted to vend her wares once 
a week to the young ladies in the Mall. She had twelve intimate and 
bosom friends out of the twenty-four young ladies. Even envious Miss 
Briggs never spoke ill of her : high and mighty Miss Saltire (Lord Dexter's 
grand-daughter) allowed that her figure was genteel: and as for Miss 
Swartz, the rich woolly-haired mulatto from St. Kitt's, on the day Amelia 
went away, she was in such a passion of tears, that they were obliged to 
send for Dr. Ploss, and half tipsify her with salvolatile. Miss Pinkerton's 
attachment was, as may be supposed, from the high position and eminent 
virtues of that lady, calm and dignified; but Miss Jemima had already 
blubbered several times at the idea of Ameba's departure ; and, but for fear 
of her sister, would have gone off in downright hysterics, like the heiress 
(who paid double) of St. Kitt's. Such luxury of grief, however, is only 
allowed to parlour-boarders. Honest Jemima had all the bills, and the 
washing, and the mending, and the puddings, and the plate and crockery, 
and the servants to superintend. But why speak about her ? It is 
probable that we shall not hear of her again from this moment to the end 
of time, and that when the great filligree iron gates are once closed on 
her, she and her awful sister will never issue therefrom into this little 
world of history. 

" But as we are to see a great deal of Ameba, there is no harm in saying 
at the outset of our acquaintance, that she was one of the best and dearest 
creatures that ever lived; and a great mercy it is, botii in life and in 
novels, which (and the latter especially) abound in villains of the most 
sombre sort, that we are to have for a constant companion, so guileless 






A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 



and good-natured a person. As she is not a heroine, there is no need to 
describe her person ; indeed I am afraid that her nose was rather short 
than otherwise, and her cheeks a great deal too round and red for a 
heroine; but her face blushed with rosy health, and her lips with the 
freshest of smiles, and she had a pair of eyes, which sparkled with the 
brightest and honestest good-humour, except indeed when they filled with 
tears, and that was a great deal too often ; for the silly thing would cry 
over a dead canary-bird, or over a mouse, that the cat haply had seized 
upon, or over the end of a novel, were it ever so stupid ; and as for saying 
an unkind word to her, were any one hard-hearted enough to do so, — 
why, so much the worse for them. Even Miss Pinkerton, that austere 
and god-like woman, ceased scolding her after the first time, and though 
she no more comprehended sensibility than she did Algebra, gave all 
masters and teachers particular orders to treat Miss Sedley with the utmost- 
gentleness, as harsh treatment was injurious to her. 

So that when the day of departure came, between her two customs of 
laughing and crying, [Miss Sedley was greatly puzzled how to act. She was 
glad to go home, and yet most wofully sad at leaving school. For three 
days before, little Laura Martin, the orphan, followed her about, like a 
little dog. She had to make and receive at least fourteen presents, — to 
make fourteen solemn promises of writing every week: " Send my letters 
under cover to my grandpapa, the Earl of Dexter," said Miss Saltire (who, 
by the way was rather shabby) : "2seveT mind the postage, but write every 
day, you dear darling," said the impetuous and woolly -headed, but gener- 
ous and affectionate Miss Swartz ; and little Laura Martin (who was just 
in round hand) took her friend's hand and said, looking up in her face 
wistfullv, "Amelia, when I write to vou I shall call vou Mamma." All 




which details, I have no doubt, Jones, who reads this book at his Club, 



VANITY FAIE. 



will pronounce to be excessively foolish, trivial, twaddling, and ultra-senti- 
mental. Yes; I can see Jones at this minute (rather flushed with his joint 
of mutton and half-pint of wine), taking out Ids pencil and scoring under 
the words "foolish, twaddling," &c, and adding to them his own remark 
of " quite true." Well, he is a lofty man of genius, and admires the great 
and heroic in life and novels ; and so had better take warning and go 
elsewhere. ■ 

Well, then. The flowers, and the presents, and the trunks, and bonnet- 
boxes of Miss Sedley having been arranged by Mr. Sambo in the carriage, 
together with a veiy small and weather-beaten old cow's-skin trunk 
with Miss Sharp's card neatly nailed upon it, which was delivered by 
Sambo with a grin, and packed by the coachman with a corresponding 
sneer— the hour for parting came ; and the grief of that moment was 
considerably lessened by the admirable discourse which Miss Pinkerton 
addressed to her pupil. Not that the parting speech caused Amelia to 
philosophise, or that it armed her in any way with a calmness, the result 
of argument ; but it was intolerably dull, pompous, and tedious ; and 
having the fear of her schoolmistress greatly before her eyes, Miss Sedley 
did not venture, in her presence, to give way to any ebullitions of private 
grief. A seed-cake and a bottle of wine Avere produced in the drawing- 
room, as on the solemn occasions of the visit of parents, and these refresh- 
ments being partaken of, Miss Sedley was at liberty to depart. 

" You '11 go in and say good by to Miss Pinkerton, Becky ?" said Miss 
Jemima to a yomig lady of whom nobody took any notice, and who was 
coming down stairs with her own bandbox. 

" I suppose I must," said Miss Sharp calmly, and much to the wonder 
of Miss Jemima ; and the latter having knocked at the door, and receiving 
permission to come in, Miss Sharp advanced in a very unconcerned man- 
ner, and said in French, and with a perfect accent, " Mademoiselle, je viens 
vous faire mes adieux." 

" Miss Pinkerton did not understand French ; she only directed those 
who did : but biting her lips and throwing up her venerable and Roman- 
nosed head, (on the top of which figured a large and solemn turban,) she 
said, " Miss Sharp, I wish you a good morning." As the Hammersmith 
Semiramis spoke, she waved one hand both by way of adieu, and to give 
Miss Sharp an opportunity of shaking one of the fingers of the hand which 
was left out for that purpose. 

Miss Sharp only folded her own hands with a very frigid smile and bow, 
and quite declined to accept the proffered honour ; on which Semiraniis 
tossed up her turban more indignantly than ever. In fact, it w T as a little 
battle between the young lady and the old one, and the latter was worsted, 
" Heaven bless you, my child," said she, embracing Amelia, and scowling 
the while over the girl's shoulder at Miss Sharp. " Come away, Becky," 
said Miss Jemima, pulling the young woman away in great alarm, and the 
draAving-room door closed upon them for ever. 

Then came the struggle and parting below. Words refuse to tell it. 
All the servants were there in the hall — all the dear friends — all the young 
ladies — the dancing-master who had just arrived ; and there was such a 
scuffling, and hugging, and kissing, and crying, with the hysterical yoops 




r 



tf'S'rrlrt'.s 



r 






rt V 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 



of Miss Swartz, the parlour -boarder, from her room, as no pen can depict, 
and as the tender heart would fain pass over. The embracing was over ; 
they parted — that is, Miss Sedley parted from her friends. Miss Sharp 
had demurely entered the carriage some minutes before. Nobody cried for 
leaving lier. 

Sambo of the bandy-legs slammed the carriage-door on his young weep- 
ing mistress. He sprang up behind the carriage. " Stop ! " cried Miss 
Jemima, rushing to the gate with a parcel. 

-" It 's some sandwiches, my dear," said she to Amelia. " You may 
be hungry, you know ; and Becky, Becky Sharp, here 's a book for you 
that my sister — that is, I, — Johnson's Dixonary, you know ; you mustn't 
leave us without that. Good bv. Drive on, coachman. God bless vou ! " 

And the kind creature retreated into the garden, overcome with emotions. 

But, lo ! and just as the coach drove off, Miss Sharp put her pale face 
out of the window, and actually flung the book back into the garden. 

This almost caused Jemima to faint with terror. "Well, I never," — 
said she — "what an audacious " — Emotion prevented her from completing 
•either sentence. The carriage rolled away ; the great gates were closed ; 
the bell ram? for the dancing lesson. The world is before the two voung 
ladies ; and so, farewell to Chiswick Mall. 




x fSF 




. 



«&■■> 



/ 



%yfc r- 

zf _ 



r 




CHAPTER II. 

IN "WHICH MISS SHARP AND MISS SEDLEY PREPARE TO OPEN 

THE CAMPAIGN. 

' hen Miss Sharp had performed the heroical act mentioned 
in the last chapter, and had seen the Dixonary flying 
over the pavement of the little garden, fall at length at 
the feet of the astonished Miss Jemima, the young lady's 
countenance, which had before worn an almost livid look 
of hatred, assumed a smile that perhaps was scarcely 
more agreeable, and she sank back in the carnage in 
an easy frame of mind, saying, — " So much for the 
Dixonary ; and, thank God, I 'm out of Chiswick." 

Miss Sedley was almost as flurried at the act of defiance as Miss Jemima 
had been ; for, consider, it was but one minute that she had left school, 
and the impressions of six years are not got over in that space of time. 
Nay, with some persons those awes and terrors of youth last for ever and 
ever. I know, for instance, an old gentleman of sixty-eight, who said 
to me one morning at breakfast, with a very agitated countenance, " I 
dreamed last night that I was flogged by Dr. Eaine." Fancy had carried 
him back only fifty years in the course of that evening. Dr. Kaine and 
his rod were just as awful to him in his heart, then, at sixty-eight, as they 
had been at thirteen. If the Doctor, with a large birch, had appeared 
bodily to him, even at the age of threescore and eight, and had said in 
awful voice, " Boy, take down your pant * * ? " Well, well, Miss 
Sedley was exceedingly alarmed at this act of insubordination. 

" How could you do so, Rebecca ? " at last she said, after a pause. 
" Why, do you think Miss Pinkerton will come out and order me back 
to the black-hole ? " said Eebecca, laughing. 

"No: but " 

" I hate the whole house," continued Miss Sharp, in a fury. " I hope 
I may never set eyes on it again. I wish it were in the bottom of the 
Thames, I do ; and if Miss Pinkerton were there, I wouldn't pick her out, 
that I wouldn't. how I should like to see her floating in the water 
yonder, turban and all, with her train streaming after her, and her nose 
bike the beak of a wherry." 
" Hush ! " cried Miss Sedley. 

" Why, will the black footman tell tales? " cried Miss Eebecca, laughing. 
" He may go back and tell Miss Pinkerton that I hate her with all my 
soul ; and I wish he would ; and I wish I had a means of proving it too. 
For two years I have only had insults and outrage from her. I have been 
treated worse than any servant in the kitchen. I have never had a friend 
or a kind word, except from you. I have been made to tend the little girls 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 



in the lower schoolroom, and to talk French to the Misses, until I grew 
sick of my mother-tongue. But that talking French to Miss Pinkerton 
was capital fun, wasn't it ? She doesn't know a word of French, and was 
too proud to confess it. I believe it was that which made her part with 
me ; and so thank Heaven for French. Vive la France ! Vive VEvtpereitr ! 
Vive Bonaparte J " 

" Rebecca, Rebecca, for shame ! " cried Miss Sedley ; for this was 
the greatest blasphemy Rebecca had as yet uttered ; and in those days, in 
England, to say " Long bve Bonaparte !" was as much as to say "Long 
hve Lucifer ! " " How can you — how dare you have such wicked, 
revengeful thoughts ? " 

" Revenge may be wicked, but it 's natural," answered Miss Rebecca. 
" I 'm no angel." And, to say the truth, she certainly was not. 

For it may be remarked in the course of this Httle conversation (which 
took place as the coach rolled along lazily by the river side) that though 
Miss Rebecca Sharp has twice had occasion to thank Heaven, it has been, 
in the first place, for ridding her of some person whom she hated, and 
secondly, for enabling her to bring her enemies to some sort of perplexity 
or confusion ; neither of which are very amiable motives for religious 
gratitude, or such as wotdd be put forward by persons of a kind and 
placable disposition. Miss Rebecca was not, then, in the least kind or 
placable. All the world used her ill, said this young misanthropist (or 
misogynist, for of the world of men she can be pronounced as yet to have 
had but little experience), and we may be pretty certain that the persons 
of either sex whom all the world treats ill, deserve entirely the treatment 
they get. The world is a looking-glass, and gives back to every man the 
reflection of his own face. Frown at it, and it will in turn look sourly 
upon you : laugh at it and with it, and it is a jolly kind companion ; and 
so let all young persons take their choice. This is certain, that if the 
world neglected Miss Sharp, she never was known to have done a good 
action in behalf of anybody ; nor can it be expected that twenty -four 
young ladies should all be as amiable as the heroine of this work, Miss Sedley 
(whom we have selected for the very reason that she was the best-natured 
of all, otherwise what on earth was to have prevented us from putting up 
Miss Swartz, or Miss Crump, or Miss Hopkins, as heroine in her place ?) 
it could not be expected that every one should be of the humble and gentle 
temper of Miss Amelia Sedley ; should take eveiy opportunity to vanquish 
Rebecca's hard-heartedness and ill-humour ; and, by a thousand kind words 
and offices, overcome, for once at least, her hostility to her kind. 

Miss Sharp's father was an artist, and in that quality had given lessons 
of drawing at Miss Pinkerton's school. He was a clever man ; a pleasant 
companion ; a careless student ; had a great propensity for running into 
debt, and a partiality for the tavern. TVhen he was drunk, he used to 
beat his wife and daughter ; and the next morning, with a headache, he 
used to rail at the world for its neglect of his genius, and abuse, with a 
good deal of cleverness, and sometimes with perfect reason, the fools, his 
brother painters. As it was with the utmost difficulty that he could keep 
himself, and as he owed money for a mile round Soho, where he lived, he 



10 YANITY FAIR. 



thought to better his circumstances by marrying a young woman of the 
Trench nation, who was by profession an opera-girl. The humble calling 
of her female parent, Miss Sharp never alluded to, but used to state subse- 
quently that. the Entrechats were a noble family. of Gascony, and took 
great pride in her descent from them. And curious it is, that as she 
advanced in life this young lady's ancestors increased in rank and 
splendour. 

Eebecca' s mother had had some education somewhere, and her daughter 
spoke French with purity and a Parisian accent. It was in those days 
rather a rare accomplishment, and led to her engagement with the orthodox 
Miss Pinkerton. For her mother being dead, and her father finding him- 
self not likely to recover, after his third attack of delirium tremens, wrote 
a manly and pathetic letter to Miss Pinkerton, recommending the orphan 
child to her protection, and so descended to the grave, after two bailiffs 
had quarrelled over his corpse. Eebecca was seventeen when she came to 
Chiswick, and was bound over as an articled pupil, her duties being to 
talk French, as we have seen, and her privileges to live cost free ; and, 
with a few guineas a year, to gather scraps of knowledge from the professors 
who attended the school. 

She was small and slight in person ; pale, sandy-haired, and with eyes 
habitually cast down : when they looked up they were very large, odd, and 
attractive ; so attractive, that the Eeverend Mr. Crisp, fresh from Oxford, 
and curate to the Vicar of Chiswick, the Eeverend Mr. Flowerdew, fell in 
love with Miss Sharp ; being shot dead by a glance of her eyes which was 
fired all the way across Chiswick Church from the school-pew to the 
reading-desk. This infatuated young man used sometimes to take tea 
with Miss Pinkerton, to whom he had been presented by his mamma, and 
actually proposed something like marriage in an intercepted note, which 
the 6ne-eyed applewoman was charged to deliver. Mrs. Crisp was sum- 
moned from Buxton, and abruptly carried off her darling boy ; but the 
idea, even, of such an eagle in the Chiswick dovecot caused a great flutter 
in the breast of Miss Pinkerton, who would have sent away Miss Sharp, but 
that she was bound to her under a forfeit, and who never coidd thoroughly 
believe the young lady's protestations that she had never exchanged a single 
word with Mr. Crisp, except under her own eyes on the two occasions 
when she had met him at tea. 

By the side of many tall and bouncing young ladies in the establishment, 
Eebecca Sharp looked like a child. But she had the dismal precocity of 
poverty. Many a dun had she talked to, and turned away from her father's 
door ; many a tradesman had she coaxed and wheedled into good-humour, 
and into the granting of one meal more. She sate commonly with her 
father, who was very proud of her wit, and heard the talk of many of his 
wild companions — often but ill suited for a girl to hear. But she never 
had been a girl, she said ; she had been a woman since she was eight years 
old. O why did Miss Pinkerton let such a dangerous bird into her cage ? 

The fact is, the old lady thought Eebecca to be the meekest creature in 
the world, so admirably, on the occasions when her father brought her to 
Chiswick, used Eebecca to perform the part of the ingenue. She thought 
her a modest 'and innocent little child ; and only a year before the arrange- 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 



11 



merit bv which Rebecca had been admitted into her house, and when Eebecca 
was sixteen years old, Miss Pinkerton majestically, and with a little speech, 
made her a present of a doll — which was, by the way, the confiscated pro- 
perty of Miss Swindle, discovered surreptitiously nursing it in school- 
hours. How the father and daughter laughed as they trudged home 
together after the evening party, (it was on the occasion of the speeches, 
when all the professors were invited,) and how Miss Pinkerton would have 
raged had she seen the caricature of herself which the little mimic, Eebecca, 
managed to make out of her doll ! She used to go through dialogues 
with it ; it formed the delight of IS ewman Street, Gerard Street, and the 
artists' quarter : and the young painters, when they came to take their 
gin-and- water with their lazy, dissolute, clever, jovial senior, used regularly 




to ask Eebecca if Miss Pinkerton was at home : she was well known to 
them, poor soul ! as Mr. Lawrence or President "West. Once she had the 
honour to pass a few days at Chiswick ; after which she brought back 
Jemima, and erected another doll as Miss Jemmy ; for though that honest 
creature had made and given her jelly and cake enough for three children, 
and a seven-shilling piece at parting, the girPs sense of ridicule was far 



12 VANITY FAIR. 



stronger than her gratitude, and she sacrificed Miss Jemmy quite as 
pitilessly as her sister. 

The catastrophe came, and she was brought to the Mall as to her home. 
The rigid formality of the place suffocated her : the prayers and the meals, 
the lessons and the walks, which were arranged with a conventual regu- 
larity, oppressed her almost beyond endurance: and she looked back to 
the freedom and the beggary of the old studio in Soho with so much 
regret, that everybody, herself included, fancied she was consumed with 
grief for her father. She had a little room in the garret, where the maids 
heard her walking and sobbing at night ; but it was with rage, and not 
with grief. She had not been much of a dissembler, until now her loneli- 
ness taught her to feign. She had never mingled in the society of women : 
her father, reprobate as he was, was a man of talent ; his conversation 
was a thousand times more agreeable to her than the talk of such of her 
own sex as she now encountered. The pompous vanity of the old school- 
mistress, the foolish good-humour of her sister, the silly chat and scandal 
of the elder girls, and the frigid correctness of the governesses equally 
annoyed her; and she had no soft maternal heart, this unlucky girl, other- 
wise the prattle and talk of the younger children, with whose care she was 
chiefly intrusted, might have soothed and interested her; but she lived 
among them two years, and not one was sorry that she went away. The 
gentle tender-hearted Amelia Sedley was the only person to whom she could 
attach herself in the least ; and who could help attaching herself to Amelia ? 

The happiness — the superior advantages of the young women round 
about her, gave Rebecca inexpressible pangs of envy- "What airs that 
girl gives herself, because she is an Earl's granddaughter," she said of one. 
" How they cringe and bow to that Creole, because of her hundred 
thousand pounds ! I am a thousand times cleverer and more charming 
than that creature, for all her wealth. I am as well bred as the Earl's 
granddaughter, for all her fine pedigree ; and yet every one passes me by 
here. And yet, when I was at my father's, did not the men give up their 
gayest balls and parties in order to pass the evening with me ? " She 
determined at any rate to get free from the prison in which she found 
herself, and now began to act for herself, and for the first time to make 
connected plans for the future. 

She took advantage, therefore, of the means of study the place offered 
her ; and as she was already a musician and a good linguist, she speedily 
went through the little course of study which was considered necessary for 
ladies in those days. Her music she practised incessantly, and one day, 
when the girls were out, and she had remained at home, she was over- 
heard to play a piece so well, that Minerva thought wisely, she could 
spare herself the expense of a master for the juniors, and intimated to 
Miss Sharp that she was to instruct them in music for the future. 
- The girl refused ; and for the first time, and to the astonishment of the 
majestic mistress of the school. " I am here to speak French with the 
children," Eebecca said abruptly, "not to teach them music, and save 
money for you. Give me money, and I will teach them." 

Minerva was obliged to yield, and, of course, disliked her from that day. 
" For five-and-thirty years," she said, and with great justice, " I never 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 13 

have seen the individual who has dared in my own house to question my 
authority. I have nourished a viper in my bosom. " 

"A viper — a fiddlestick," said Miss Sharp to the old lady, almost faint- 
ing with astonishment. "You took me because I was useful. There is no 
question of gratitude between us. I hate this place, and want to leave it. 
I will do nothing here, but what I am obliged to do." 

It was in vain that the old lady asked her if she was aware she was 
speaking to Miss Pinkerton ? Rebecca laughed in her face, with a horrid 
sarcastic demoniacal laughter, that almost sent the schoolmistress into fits. 
"Give me a sum of money," said the girl, " and get rid of me — or, if you 
like better, get me a good place as governess in a nobleman's family — you 
can do so if you please." And in their further disputes she always 
returned to this point, " Get me a situation — we hate each other, and I 
am ready to go." 

Worthy Miss Pinkerton, although she had a Roman nose and a turban, 
and was as tall as a grenadier, and had been up to this time an irresistible 
princess, had no will or strength like that of her little apprentice, and in 
vain did battle against her, and tried to overawe her. Attempting once 
to scold her in public, Kebecca hit upon the before-mentioned plan of 
answering her in French, which quite routed the old woman. In order to 
maintain authority in her school, it became necessary to remove this rebel, 
this monster, this serpent, this firebrand ; and hearing about this time 
that Sir Pitt Crawley's family was in want of a governess, she actually 
recommended Miss Sharp for the situation, firebrand and serpent that she 
was. " I cannot, certainly," she said, " find fault with Miss Sharp's con- 
duct, except to myself; and must allow that her talents and accom- 
plishments are of a high order. As far as the head goes, at least, she 
does credit to the educational system pursued at my establishment." 

And so the schoolmistress reconciled the recommendation to her con- 
science, and the indentures were cancelled, aud the apprentice was free. 
The battle here described in a few lines, of course, lasted for some months. 
And as Miss Sedley, being now seventeen years of age, was about to leave 
school, and had a friendship for Miss Sharp, (" 'tis the only point in 
Amelia's behaviour," said Minerva, "which has not been satisfactory to 
her mistress,") Miss Sharp was invited by her friend to pass a week with 
her at home, before she entered upon her duties as governess in a private 
family. 

Thus the world began for these two young ladies. For Amelia it was 
quite a new, fresh, brilliant world, with all the bloom upon it. It was not 
quite a new one for Rebecca — (indeed, if the truth must be told with 
respect to the Crisp affair, the tart-woman hinted to somebody who took 
an affidavit of the fact to somebody else, that there was a great deal more 
than was made public regarding Mr. Crisp and Miss Sharp, and that his 
letter was in answer to another letter). But who can tell you the real truth 
of the matter ? At all events, if Rebecca was not beginning the world, 
she was beginning it over again. 

By the time the young ladies reached Kensington turnpike, Amelia had 
not forgotten her companions, but had dried her tears, and had blushed 
very much and been delighted at a young officer of the Horse Guards, who 



14 . VANITY PAIK. 



spied her as lie was riding by, and said, " A dem fine gal, egad ! " and 
before the carriage arrived in Enssell Square, a great deal of conversation 
had taken place about the drawing-room, and whether or not young ladies 
wore powder .as well as hoops when presented, and whether she was to 
have that honour : to the Lord Mayor's ball she knew she was to go. 
And when at length home was reached, Miss Amelia Sedley skipped out on 
Sambo's arm, as happy and as handsome a girl as any in the whole big city 
of London. Both he and coachman agreed on this point, and so did her 
father and mother, and so did every one of the servants in the house, as 
they stood bobbing, and curtseying, and smiling, in the hall, to welcome 
their young mistress. 

You may be sm-e that she showed Rebecca over every room of the 
house, and everything in every one of her drawers, and her books, and 
her piano, and her dresses, and all her necklaces, brooches, laces, and 
gim cracks. She insisted upon Rebecca accepting the white corneKan and 
the turquoise rings, and a sweet sprigged muslin, winch was too small for 
her now, though it woidd fit her friend to a nicety ; and she determined 
in her heart to ask her mother's permission to present her white Cashmere- 
shawl to her friend. Coidd she not spare it ? and had not her brother 
Joseph just brought her two from India ? 

When Rebecca saw the two magnificent Cashmere shawls which Joseph 
Sedley had brought home to his sister, she said, with perfect truth, " that 
it must be delightful to have a brother," and easily got the pity of the 
tender-hearted Amelia, for being alone in the world, an orphan without 
friends or kindred. 

"Not alone," said Amelia, "you know, Rebecca, I shall always be your 
friend, and love you as a sister — indeed I will." 

"Ah, but to have parents, as you have — kind, rich, affectionate parents, 
who give you everything you ask for ; and their love, which is more pre- 
cious than all ! My poor papa coidd give me nothing, and I had but two 
frocks in all the world ! And then, to have a brother, a dear brother ! 
Oh how you must love him ! " 

Amelia laughed. 

" What ! don't you love him ? you, who say you love everybody?" 

" Yes, of course, I do — only — " 

"Only what?" 

" Only Joseph doesn't seem to care much whether I love him or not. 
He gave me two fingers to shake when he arrived after ten years' absence ! 
He is very kind and good, but he scarcely ever speaks to me ; I think he 
loves his pipe a great deal better than his " * * * but here Amelia 
checked herself, for why should she speak ill of her brother ? " He was 
very kind to me as a child," she added ; "I was but five years old when 
he went away." 

" Isn't he very rich ?" said Rebecca. " They say all Indian nabobs are 
enormously rich." 

" I believe he has a very large income." 

"And is your sister-in-law a nice pretty woman?" 

" La ! Joseph is not married," said Ameba, laughing again. 

Perhaps she had mentioned the fact already to Rebecca, but that young 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 



15 



lady did not appear to have remembered it ; indeed, vowed and protested 
that she expected to see a number of Amelia's nephews and nieces. She 
was quite disappointed that ]\Ir. Sedley was not married ; she was sure 
Amelia had said he was, and she doted so on little children. 

" I think you must have had enough of them at Chiswick," said Amelia, 
rather wondering at the sudden tenderness on her friend's part ; and indeed 
in later days Miss Sharp would never have committed herself so far as to 
advance opinions, the untruth of which would have been so easily detected. 
But we must remember that she is but nineteen as yet, unused to the art 
of deceiving, poor innocent creature ! and making her own experience in 
her own person. The meaning of the above series of queries, as trans- 
lated in the heart of this ingenious young woman, was simply this : — ' If 
Mr. Joseph Sedley is rich and unmarried, why shoidd I not marry him ? 
I have only a fortnight, to be sure, but there is no harm trying." And she 
determined within herself to make this laudable attempt. She redoubled 
her caresses to Amelia ; she kissed the white cornelian necklace as she put 
it on ; and vowed she woidd never, never part with it. When the dinner- 
bell rang she went down stairs with her arm round her friend's waist, as 
is the habit of young ladies. She was so agitated at the drawing-room 
door, that she could hardly find courage to enter. " Feel my heart, how 
it beats, dear !" said she to her friend. 

"No, it doesn't," said Amelia. " Come in, don't be frightened. Papa 
wont do you any harm." 




"IJpllwRpSapOTnt 







CHAPTER III. 

REBECCA IS IN PRESENCE OF THE ENEMY. 

very stout, puffy man, in buckskins and hessian 
boots, with several immense neckcloths, that 
rose almost to his nose, with a red striped 
waistcoat and an apple green coat with steel 
buttons almost as large as crown pieces, (it 
was the morning costume of a dandy or blood 
of those days) was reading the paper by the 
fire when the two girls entered, and bounced 
off his arm-chair, and blushed excessively, and 
hid his entire face ahnost in his neckcloths at this apparition. 

"It's only your sister, Joseph," said Amelia, laughing and shaking the 
two fingers which he held out. "I've come home for good you know; 
and this is my friend, Miss Sharp, whom you have heard me mention." 

" No, never, upon my word," said the head under the neckcloth, shak- 
ing very much, — " that is, yes, — what abominably cold weather, Miss;" — 
and herewith he fell to poking the fire with all his might, although it was 
in the middle of June. 

" He's very handsome," whispered Rebecca to Amelia, rather loud. 
" Do you think so ?" said the latter, " I '11 teU him." • 
" Darling ! not for worlds," said Miss Sharp, starting back as timid 
as a fawn. She had previously made a respectful virgin-like curtsey to 
the gentleman, and her modest eyes gazed so perseveringly on the carpet 
that it was a wonder how she should have found an opportunity to see him. 
" Thank you for the beautiful shawls, brother," said Amelia to the fire- 
poker. " Are they not beautiful, Rebecca ?" 

" heavenly !" said Miss Sharp, and her eyes went from the carpet 
straight to the chandelier. 
* Joseph still continued a huge clattering at the poker and tongs, puffing 
and blowing the while, and turning as red as his yellow face would allow 
him. " I can't make you such handsome presents, Joseph," continued his 
sister, "but while I was at school, I have embroidered for you a very 
beautiful pair of braces." 

" Good Gad ! Amelia," cried the brother, in serious alarm, "what do 
you mean ?" and plunging with all his might at the bell-rope, that article 
of furniture came away in his hand, and increased the honest fellow's con- 
fusion. " For heaven's sake see if my buggy 's at the door. I can't wait. 
I must go. D — that groom of mine. I must go." 

At this minute the father of the family walked in, rattling his seals hke 
a true British merchant. " What's the matter, Emmy ?" says he. 

" Joseph wants me to see if his — his buggy is at the door. What is a 
buggy, papa? " 






A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 17 

" It is a one-horse palanquin," said the old gentleman, who was a wag 
in his way. 

Joseph at this burst out into a wild fit of laughter ; in which, encounter- 
ing the eye of Miss Sharp, he stopped all of a sudden, as if he had been shot. 

" This young lady is your friend ? Miss Sharp, I am very happy to see 
you. Have you and Emmy been quarrelling already with Joseph, that he 
wants to be off?" 

" I promisedBonamy, of our service, sir," said Joseph, "to dine with hiin." 

" O fie ! didn't vou tell vour mother vou would dine here ?" 

" But in this dress it 's impossible." 

" Look at him, isn't he handsome enough to dine anywhere, Miss 
Sharp?" 

On which, of course, Miss Sharp looked at her friend, and they both set 
off in a fit of laughter, highly agreeable to the old gentleman. 

" Did you ever see a pah- of buckskins like those at Miss Pinkertou's ?" 
continued he, following up his advantage. 

" Gracious heavens ! Father," cried Joseph. 

" There now, I have Imrt his feehngs. Mrs. Sedley, my dear, I have 
hurt your son's feehngs. I have alluded to his buckskins. Ask Miss 
Sharp if I haven't ? Come, Joseph, be friends with Miss Sharp, and let 
us all go to dinner." 

" There's a pillau, Joseph, just as you like it, and Papa has brought 
home the best turbot in Billingsgate." 

" Come, come, sir, walk down stairs with Miss Sharp, and I will follow 
with these two young women," said the father, and he took an arni of wife 
and daughter and walked merrily off. 

If Miss Bebecca Sharp had determined in her heart upon making the 
conquest of this big beau, I don't think, ladies, we have any right to blame 
her ; for though the task of husband-hunting is generally, and with becom- 
ing modesty, entrusted by young persons to their mammas, recollect that 
Miss Sharp had no kind parent to arrange these delicate matters for her, 
and that if she did not get a husband for herself, there was no one else in 
the wide world who would take the trouble off her hands. What causes 
young people to "come out," but the noble ambition of matrimony? 
"What sends them trooping to watering-places ? What keeps them dancing 
till five o'clock in the morning through a whole mortal season? What 
causes them to labour at piano-forte sonatas, and to leam four songs from 
a fashionable master at a guinea a lesson, and to play the harp if they have 
handsome arms and neat elbows, and to wear Lincoln Green toxopho- 
lite hats and feathers, but that tliev may bring down some " desirable" 
young man with those killing bows and arrows of theirs ? What causes 
respectable parents to take up their carpets, set then houses topsy- 
turvy, and spelld a fifth of their year's income in ball suppers and iced 
champagne ? Is it sheer love of their species, and an unadulterated wish to 
see young people happy and dancing ? Psha ! they want to many then- 
daughters; and, as honest Mrs. Sedley has, in the depths of her kind 
heart, already arranged a score of little schemes for the settlement of her 
Amelia, so also had our beloved but unprotected Bebecca, determined to 

c 



18 VANITY FAIE. 



do her very best to secure the husband, who was even more necessary for 
her than for her friend. She had a vivid imagination ; she had, besides, 
read the " Arabian Nights" and " Guthrie's Geography," and it is a fact, 
that while she was dressing for dinner, and after she had asked Amelia 
whether her brother was very rich, she had built for herself a most magni- 
ficent castle in the air, of which she was mistress, with a husband some- 
where in the background (she had not seen him as yet, and his figure 
would not therefore be very distinct); she had arrayed herself in an infinity 
of shawls, turbans, and diamond necklaces, and had mounted upon an 
elephant to the sound of the march in Bluebeard, in order to pay a visit of 
ceremony to the Grand Mogul. Charming Alnaschar visions ! it is the 
happy privilege of youth to construct you, and many a fanciful young 
creature besides Bebecca Sharp, has indulged in these delightful day-dreams 
ere now ! 

Joseph Sedley was twelve years older than his sister Amelia. He was in 
the East India Company's Civil Service, and his name appeared, at the 
period of which we write, in the Bengal division of the East India Begister, 
as collector of Boggley Wollah, an honourable and lucrative post, as every- 
body knows : in order to know to what higher posts Joseph rose in the 
service, the reader is referred to the same periodical. 

Boggley Wollah is situated in a fine, lonely, marshy, jungly district, 
famous for snipe-shooting, and where not unfrequently you may flush a 
tiger. Bamgunge, where there is a magistrate, is only forty miles off, 
and there is a cavalry station about thirty miles farther ; so Joseph wrote 
home to his parents, when he took possession of his collectorship. He 
had lived for about eight years of his life, quite alone, at this charm- 
ing place, scarcely seeing a Christian face, except twice a year, when the 
detachment arrived to carry off the revenues which he had collected, to 
Calcutta. 

Luckily, at this time he caught a liver complaint, for the cure of which 
he returned to Europe, and which was the source of great comfort 
and amusement to him in his native country. He did not live with his 
family while in London, but had lodgings of his own, like a gay young 
bachelor. Before he went to India he was too young to partake of the 
delightful pleasures of a man about town, and plunged into them on his 
return, with considerable assiduity. He drove his horses in the Park; 
he dined at the fashionable taverns, (for the Oriental Club was not as 
yet invented) ; he frequented the theatres, as the mode was in those days, 
or made his appearance at the opera, laboriously attired in tights and a 
cocked hat. 

On returning to India, and ever after, he used to talk of the pleasure of 
this period of his existence with great enthusiasm, and give you to under- 
stand that he and Brummel were the leading bucks of the day. But he 
was as lonely here as in his jungle at Boggley Wollah. He scarcely knew 
a single soid in the metropolis : and were it not for his doctor, and the 
society of his blue-pill, and his liver complaint, he must have died of lone- 
liness. He was lazy, peevish, and a bon-vivant ; the appearance of a lady 
frightened him beyond measure ; hence it was but seldom that he joined 
the paternal circle in Bussell Square, where there was plenty of gaiety, and 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 19 

where the jokes of his good-natured old father frightened his amour-propre. 
His hulk caused Joseph much anxious thought and alarm ; now and then 
he would make a desperate attempt to get rid of his superabundant fat ; 
hut his indolence and love of good living speedily got the better of these 
endeavours at reform, and he found himself again at his three meals a day. 
He never was well dressed ; but he took the hugest pains to adorn his 
big person, and passed many hours daily in that occupation. His valet 
made a fortune out of his wardrobe : his toilet-table was covered with as 
many pomatums and essences as ever were employed by an old beauty : 
he had tried, in order to give liimself a waist, every girth, stay, and waist- 
band then invented. Like most fat men, he would have his clothes made 
too tight, and took care they should be of the most brilliant colours 
and youthful cut. "When dressed at length, in the afternoon, he would 
issue forth to take a drive with nobody in the Park ; and then woidd come 
back in order to dress again and go and dine with nobody at the Piazza 
Coffee-House. He was as vain as a girl ; and perhaps his extreme shyness 
was one of the results of his extreme vanity. If Miss Rebecca can get the 
better of Mm, and at her first entrance into life, she is a young person of 
no ordinary cleverness. 

The first move showed considerable skill. "When she called Sedley a 
verv handsome man, she knew that Amelia would tell her mother, who 
would probably tell Joseph, or who, at any rate, would be pleased by the 
compbment paid to her son. All mothers are. If you had told Styeorax 
that her son Cahban was as handsome as Apollo, she would have been 
pleased, witch as she was. Perhaps, too, Joseph Sedley woidd overhear 
the compbment — Rebecca spoke loud enough — and he did hear, and (think- 
ing in his heart that he was a very fine man,) the praise thrilled through 
every fibre of his big body, and made it tingle with pleasure. Then, how- 
ever, came a recoil. " Is the girl making fun of me?" he thought, and 
straightway he bounced towards the bell, and was for retreating, as we 
have seen, when his father's jokes and his mother's entreaties caused him 
to pause and stay where he was. He conducted the young lady down to 
dinner in a dubious and agitated frame of mind. "Does she really think 
I am handsome ?" thought he, " or is she only making game of me ?" We 
have talked of Joseph Sedley being as vain as a girl. Heaven help us ! the 
girls have only to turn the tables, and say of one of their own sex, " She is 
as vain as a man," and they will have perfect reason. The bearded crea- 
tures are quite as eager for praise, quite as finikin over their toilettes, quite 
as proud of their personal advantages, quite as conscious of their powers of 
fascination, as any coquette in the world. 

Down stairs, then, they went, Joseph very red and blushing, Rebecca 
very modest, and holding her green eyes downwards. She was dressed 
in white, with bare shoulders as white as snow — the picture of youth, 
unprotected innocence, and humble virgin simplicity. " I must be very 
quiet," thought Rebecca, " and very much interested about India." 

Now we have heard how Mrs. Sedley had prepared a fine curry for her 
son, just as he liked it, and in the course of dinner a portion of this dish 
was offered to Rebecca. " What is it?" said she, taming an appealing 
look to Mr. Joseph. 

c 2 






20 VANITY FAIR. 



" Capital ;" said he. His mouth was full of it : his face quite red ■with 
the delightful exercise of gobbling. "Mother, it's as good as my own 
curries in India." 

" Oh, I must try some, if it is an Indian dish," said Miss Eebecca. " I 
am sure everything must be good that comes from there." 

" Give Miss Sharp some curry, my dear," said Mr. Sedley, laughing. 

Eebecca had never tasted the dish before. 

"Do you find it as good as everything else from India?" said Mr. 
Sedley. 

" Oh, excellent ! " said Eebecca, avIio was suffering tortures with the 
cayenne pepper. 

"Try a chili with it, Miss Sharp," said Joseph, really interested. 

"A chili," said Eebecca, gasping. " Oh yes !" She thought a chili was 
something cool, as its name imported, and was served with some. " How 
fresh and green they look," she said, and put one into her mouth. It was 
hotter than the curry ; flesh and blood coidd bear it no longer. She laid 
down her fork. "Water, for Heaven's sake, water!" she cried. Mr. 
Sedley burst out laughing (lie was a coarse man, from the Stock Exchange, 
where they love all sorts of practical jokes). "They are real Indian I 
assure you," said he. " Sambo, give Miss Sharp some water." 

The paternal laugh was echoed by Joseph, who thought the joke capital. 
The ladies only smiled a little. They thought poor Eebecca suffered too 
much. She would have liked to choke old Sedley, but she swallowed her 
mortification as well as she had the abominable curry before it, and as 
soon as she could speak, said, with a comical, good-humoured air — 

" I ought to have remembered the pepper which the Princess of Persia 
puts in the cream-tarts in the Arabian Nights. Do you put cayenne 
into your cream-tarts in India, sir ? " 

Old Sedley began to laugh, and thought Eebecca was a good-humoured 
girl. Joseph simply said — " Cream-tarts, Miss ? Our cream is very bad 
in Bengal. We generally use goats' milk ; and, 'gad, do you know, I've 
got to prefer it?" 

" You won't like everything from India now, Miss Sharp," said the old 
gentleman ; but when the ladies had retired after dinner, the wily old 
fellow said to his son, " Have a care, Joe ; that girl is setting her cap at 



you. 

" Pooh ! nonsense ! " said Joe, highly flattered. " I recollect, sir, there 
was a girl at Dumdum, a daughter of Cutler of the Artillery, and after- 
wards married to Lance, the surgeon, who made a dead set at me in the 
year '4 — at me and Mulligatawney, whom I mentioned to you before 
dinner — a devilish good fellow Mulligatawney — he's a magistrate at 
Budgebudge, and sure to be in council in five years. Well, sir, the Artil- 
lery gave a ball, and Quintin, of the King's 14th, said to me, ( Sedley,' 
said he, ' I bet you thirteen to ten that Sophy Cutler hooks either you or 
Mulligatawney before the rains.' ' Done,' says I ; and egad, sir — this 
claret's very good. Adamson's or Carbonell's ? " * * * 

A slight snore was the only reply : the honest stock-broker was asleep, 
and so the rest of Joseph's story was lost for that day. But he is always 
exceedingly communicative in a man's party, and has told this delightful 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 



21 



tale many scores of times to his apothecary, Dr. Gollop, when he came to 
inquire about the liver and the blue-pill. 

Being an invalid, Joseph Sedley contented himself -with a bottle of claret 
besides his Madeira at dinner, and he managed a couple of plates full of 
strawberries and cream, and twenty-four little rout cakes, that were lying 
neglected in a plate near him, and certainly (for novelists have the privilege 
of knowing everything), he thought a great deal about the girl up stairs. 
"A nice, gay, merry young creature," thought he to himself. " How she 
looked at me when I picked up her handkerchief at dinner ! She dropped 
it twice. Who 's that singing in the di-awing-room ? 'Gad ! shall I go 
up and see ? " 

But his modesty came rushing upon liim with uncontrolable force. 
His father was asleep : his hat was in the hall : there was a hackney- 
coach stand hard by in Southampton Bow. " I '11 go and see the Forty 
T/detes," said he, "and Miss Decamp's dance;" and he slipped away 
gently on the pointed toes of his boots, and disappeared, without waking 
his worthy parent. 

" There goes Joseph," said Amelia, who was looking from the open 
windows of the drawing-room, while Bebecca was singing at the piano. 

" Miss Sharp has frightened him away," said Mrs. Sedley. " Poor Joe, 
why mil he be so shy ? " 







CHAPTER IV 




THE GKEEN SILK PUBSE. 

oor Joe's panic lasted for two or three 
clays; during which he did not visit 
the house, nor during that period did 
Miss Rebecca ever mention his name. 
She was all respectful gratitude to 
Mrs. Sedley ; delighted beyond mea- 
sure at the Bazaars ; and in a whirl of 
wonder at the theatre, whither the 
good-natured lady took her. One 
day, Amelia had a head-ache, and 
coidd not go upon some party of 
pleasure to which the two young 
people were invited : nothing could 
induce her friend to go without her. 
"What! you who have shown the 
poor orphan what happiness and love are for the first time hi her life — 
quit you ? never ! " and the green eyes looked up to Heaven and filled 
with tears ; and Mrs. Sedley coidd not but own that her daughter's friend 
had a charming kind heart of her own. . 

As for Mr. Sedley's jokes, Rebecca laughed at them with a cordiality 
and perseverance which not a little pleased and softened that good-natured 
gentleman. Nor was it with the chiefs of the family alone that Miss 
Sharp found favour. She interested Mrs. Blenkinsop by evincing the 
deepest sympathy in the raspberry-jam preserving, which operation was 
then going on in the Housekeeper's room ; she persisted in calling Sambo 
" Sir," and " Mr. Sambo," to the delight of that attendant ; and she 
apologised to the lady's maid for giving her trouble in venturing to ring 
the bell, with such sweetness and humOity, that the Servants' Hall was 
almost as charmed with her as the Drawing Room. 

Once, in looking over some drawings which Amelia had sent from 
school, Rebecca suddenly came upon one which caused her to burst into 
tears and leave the room. It was on the day when Joe Sedley made his 
second appearance. 

Amelia hastened after her friend to know the cause of this display of 
feeling, and the good-natured girl came back without her companion, 
rather affected too. " You knoAv, her father was our drawing-master, 
Mamma, at Chiswick, and used to do all the best parts of our drawings." 
" My love ! I 'm sure I always heard Miss Pinkerton say that he did 
not touch them — he only mounted them." 

" It was called mounting, Mamma. Rebecca remembers the drawing, 



A NOYEL WITHOUT A HERO. 23 

and her father working at it, and the thought of it came upon her rather 
suddenly — and so, you know, she " 

" The poor child is all heart," said Mrs. Sedley. 

" I wish she could stay with us another week," said Amelia. 

" She 's devilish like Miss Cutler that I used to meet at Dumdum, only 
faker. She 's married now to Lance, the Artillery surgeon. Do you know, 
Ma'am, that once Quintin, of the 14th, bet me " 

"0 Joseph, we know that story;" said Amelia, laughing. "Never 
mind about telling that ; but persuade Mamma to write to Sir Something 
Crawley." 

" Had he a son in the King's Light Dragoons in India ? " 

" Well, will you write to him for leave of absence for poor dear Kebecca : 
— here she comes, her eyes red with weeping." 

" I 'in better, now," said the girl, with the sweetest smile possible, 
taking good-natured Mrs. Sedley's extended hand and kissing it respect- 
fully. " How kind you all are to me ! All," she added, with a laugh, 
" except you, Mr. Joseph." 

" Me ! " said Joseph, meditating an instant departure. " Gracious 
Heavens ! Good Gad ! Miss Sharp ! " 

" Yes ; how could you be so cruel as to make me eat that horrid pep- 
per-dish at dinner, the first day I ever saw you ? You are not so good to 
me as dear Amelia." 

"He doesn't know you so well," cried Amelia. 
I defy anybody not to be good to you, my dear," said her mother. 
The curry was capital; indeed it was," said Joe, quite gravely. 
" Perhaps there was not enough citron juice in it ; — no, there was not." 

" And the chilis ? " 

" By Jove, how they made you cry out ! " said Joe, caught by the ridi- 
cule of the circumstance, and exploding in a fit of laughter which ended 
quite suddenly, as usual. 

" I shall take care how I let you choose for me another time," said 
Rebecca, as they went down again to dinner. " I didn't think men were 
fond of putting poor harmless girls to pain." 

" By Gad, Miss Rebecca, I wouldn't hurt you for the world." 

" No," said she, " I know you wouldn't ; " and then she gave him ever 
so gentle a pressure with her little hand, and drew it back quite frightened, 
and looked first for one instant in his face, and then down at the carpet- 
rods ; and I am not prepared to say that Joe's heart did not thump at 
this little involuntary, timid, gentle motion of regard on the part of the 
simple girl. 

It was an advance, and as such, perhaps, some ladies of indisputable 
correctness and gentility will condemn the action as immodest ; but, you 
see, poor dear Eebecca had all this work to do for herself. If a person 
is too poor to keep a servant, though ever so elegant, he must sweep his own 
rooms : if a dear girl has no dear Mamma to settle matters with the young 
man, she must do it for herself. And oh, what a mercy it is that these 
women do not exercise their powers oftener ! We can't resist them, if 
they do. Let them show ever so little indination, and men go down on 
their knees at once : old or uglv, it is all the same. And this I set down 






24 VANITY FAIE. 



as a positive truth. A woman with fair opportunities, and without an 
absolute hump, may marry whom she likes. Only let us be thankful 
that the darlings are like the beasts of the field, and don't know their own 
power. They would overcome us entirely if they did. 

" Egad ! " thought Joseph, entering the dining-room, " I exactly begin 
to feel as I did at Dumdum with Miss Cutler." Many sweet little appeals, 
half tender, half jocular, did Miss Sharp make to him about the dishes at 
dinner ; for by this time she was on a footing of considerable familiarity 
with the family, and as for the girls, they loved each other like sisters. 
Young unmarried girls always do, if they are in a house together for ten 
days. 

As if bent upon advancing Eebecca' s plans in every way — what must 
Amelia do, but remind her brother of a promise made last Easter holidays 
— " When I was a girl at school," said she, laughing — a promise that he, 
Joseph, woidd take her to Yauxhall. " Now," she said, " that Eebecca 
is with us, will be the very time." 

" O, delightful ! " said Eebecca, going to clap her hands; but she re- 
collected herself, and paused, like a modest creature, as she was. 

" To-night is not the night," said Joe. 

" Well, to-morrow." 

" To-morrow your Papa and I dine out," said Mrs. Sedley. 

" You don't suppose that I'm. going, Mrs. Sed. ? " said her husband, 
" and that a woman of your years and size is to catch cold, in such an 
abominable damp place ? " 

" The children must have some one with them," cried Mrs. Sedley. 

"Let Joe go," said his father, laughing. "He's biff enough." At 
which speech even Mr. Sambo at the sideboard burst out laughing, and 
poor fat Joe felt inclined to become a parricide almost. 

" Undo his stays ! " continued the pitiless old gentleman. " Eling some 
water in his face, Miss Sharp, or carry him up stairs : the dear creature' s 
fainting. Poor victim ! carry him up ; he 's as light as a feather ! " 

" If he stand this, Sir, I 'm d ! " roared Joseph. 

" Order Mr. Jos's elephant, Sambo ! " cried the father. " Send to 
Exeter 'Change, Sambo ; " but seeing Jos ready almost to cry with vexa- 
tion, the old joker stopped his laughter, and said, holding out his hand to 
Ins son, " It's all fair on the Stock-Exchange, Jos, — and, Sambo, never 
mind the elephant, but give me and Mr. Jos a glass of Champagne. Boney 
himself hasn't got such in his cellar, my boy ! " 

A goblet of Champagne restored Joseph's equanimity, and before the 
bottle was emptied, of which as an invalid he took two-thirds, he had 
agreed to take the young ladies to Yauxhall. 

" The girls must have a gentleman apiece," said the old gentleman. 
" Jos will be sure to leave Emmy in the crowd, he will be so taken up Avith 
Miss Sharp here. Send to 26, and ask George Osborne if he'll come." 

At this, I don't know in the least for what reason, Mrs. Sedley looked 
at her husband and laughed. Mr. Sedley's eyes twinkled in a manner 
indescribably roguish ; and he looked at Amelia, and Amelia hanging 
down her head, blushed as only young ladies of seventeen know how to* 
blush, and as Miss Eebecca Sharp never blushed in her life — at least not 



A XOYEL WITHOUT A HERO. 25 

since she was eight years old, and when she was caught stealing jam out 
of a cupboard by her godmother. " Amelia had better write a note," said 
her father ; " and let George Osborne see what a beautiful hand- writing 
we have brought back from Miss Pinkerton's. Do you remember when 
you wrote to him to come on Twelfth-night, Enunv, and spelt twelfth 
without the f?" 

"That was vears aero," said Amelia. 

"It seems like yesterday, don't it, John? " said Mrs. Sedley to her hus- 
band ; and that night in a conversation which took place in a front room 
in the second-floor, in a sort of tent, hung round with chintz of a rich and 
fantastic India pattern, and double viith. calico of a tender rose-colour ; in 
the interior of which species of marquee was a feather-bed, on which were 
two pillows, on which were two round red faces, one in a laced nightcap, and 
one in a simple cotton one, ending in a tassel : — in a curiam lecture, I 
say, Mrs. Sedley took her husband to task for his cruel conduct to poor 
Joe. 

" It was quite wicked of you, Mr. Sedley," said she, " to torment the 
poor boy so." 

" My dear," said the cotton-tassel in defence of his conduct, " Jos is 
a great deal vainer than you ever were in your life, and that 's saying a 
good deal. Though, some thirty years ago, in the year seventeen hundred 
and eighty — what was it ? — perhaps you had a right to be vain. — I don't 
say no. But I 've no patience with Jos and his dandified modesty. It is 
out-Josephing Joseph, my dear, and all the while the boy is only thinking 
of himself, and what a fine fellow he is. I doubt, Ma'am, we shall have 
some trouble with him yet. Here is Emmy's little friend making love to 
him as hard as she can ; that 's quite clear ; and if she does not catch 
him some other will. That man is destined to be a prey to woman, as I 
am to go on 'Change every day. It 's a mercy he did not bring us over 
a black daughter-in-law, my dear. But, mark my words, the first woman 
who fishes for him, hooks him." 

" She shall go off to-morrow, the little artful creature," said Mrs. Sedley, 
with great energy. 

" Why not she as well as another, Mrs. Sedley ? The girl 's a white 
face at anv rate. I don't care who marries him. Let Joe please 
himself." 

And presently the voices of the two speakers were hushed, or were 
replaced by the gentle but unromantic music of the nose ; and save when 
the church bells tolled the hour and the watchman called it, all was silent 
at the house of John Sedley, Esquire, of Russell Square, and the Stock 
Exchange. 

When morning came, the good-natured Mrs. Sedley no longer thought 
of executing her tlireats with regard to Miss Sharp ;" for though nothing 
is more keen, nor more common, nor more justifiable, than maternal 
jealousy, yet she could not bring herself to suppose that the little, humble, 
grateful, geutle governess, would dare to look up to such a magnificent 
personage as the Collector of Boggley Wollah. The petition, too, for an 
extension of the young lady's leave of absence had aheady been despatched, 
and it would be difficult to find a pretext for abruptly dismissing her. 



26 VANITY FAIR. 



And as if all things conspired in favour of the gentle Rebecca, the very 
elements (although she was not inclined at first to acknowledge their 
action in her behalf) interposed to aid her. For on the evening appointed 
for the Yauxhall party, George Osborne having come to dinner, and the 
elders of the house having departed, according to invitation, to dine with 
Alderman Balls, at Highbury Barn, there came on such a thunder-storm 
as only happens on Vauxhall nights, and as obliged the young people, 
perforce, to remain at home. Mr. Osborne did not seem in the least dis- 
appointed at this occurrence. He and Joseph Sedley drank a fitting 
quantity of port-wine, tete-a-tete, in the dining-room, during the drinking 
of which Sedley told a number of his best Indian stories •' for he was ex- 
tremely talkative in man's society, and afterwards Miss Amelia Sedley did 
the honours of the drawing-room ; and these four young persons passed 
such a comfortable evening together, that they declared they were rather 
glad of the thunder-storm than otherwise, which had caused them to put 
off their visit to Vauxhall. 

Osborne Avas Sedley's godson, and had been one of the family any time 
these three-and-twenty years. At six weeks old, he had received from 
John Sedley a present of a silver cup ; at six months old, a coral with 
gold whistle and bells ; from his youth, "upwards, he was "tipped" regu- 
larly by the old gentleman at Christmas ; and on going back to school, 
remembered perfectly well being thrashed by Joseph Sedley, when the 
latter was a big, swaggering, hobbadyhoy, and George an impudent urchin 
of ten years old. In a word, George was as familiar with the family as 
such daily acts of kindness and intercourse could make him. 

"Do you remember, Sedley, what a fury you were in, when I cut off 
the tassels of your Hessian boots, and how Miss — hem ! — how Amelia 
rescued me from a beating, by falling down on her knees and crying out 
to her brother Jos, not to beat little George ? " 

Jos remembered this remarkable circumstance perfectly well, but vowed 
that he had totally forgotten it. 

" Well, do you remember coming down in a gig to Dr. Swishtail's, to 
see me, before you went to India, and giving me half a guinea and a pat 
on the head ? I always had an idea that you were at least seven feet 
high, and was quite astonished at your return from India to find you no 
taller than myself." 

" How good of Mr. Sedley to go to your school and give you the 
money !" exclaimed Bebecca, in accents of extreme delight. 

"Yes, and after I had cut the tassels of his boots too. Boys never 
forget those tips at school, nor the givers." 

" I delight in Hessian boots," said Bebecca. Jos Sedley, Avho admired 
his own legs prodigiously, and always wore this ornamental chaussure, was 
extremely pleased at this remark, though he drew his legs under his chair 
as it was made. 

" Miss Sharp !" said George Osborne, "you who are so clever an artist, 
you must make a grand historical picture of the scene of the boots. Sedley 
shall be represented in buckskins, and holding one of the injured boots in 
one hand ; by the other he shall have hold of my shirt-frill. Amelia shall 
be kneeling near him, with her little hands up ; and the picture shall have 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 27 



a 'grand allegorical title, as the frontispieces have in the Medulla and the 
spelling-book." 

" I shan't have time to do it here," said Eebecca. " I '11 do it when — 
when I am gone." And she dropped her voice, and looked so sad and 
piteous, that everybody felt how cruel her lot was, and how sorry they 
would be to part with her. 

" that you could stay longer, dear Eebecca," said Amelia. 

" "Why?" answered the other, still more sadly. "That I may be only 
the more unhap — unwilling to lose you?" And she turned away her 
head. Amelia began to give way to that natural infirmity of tears which, 
we have said, was one of the defects of this silly little thing. George 
Osborne looked at the two young women with a touched curiosity ; and 
Joseph Sedley heaved something very like a sigh out of his big chest, as he 
cast his eyes down towards his favourite Hessian boots. 

" Let us have some music, Miss Sedley — Amelia," said George, who 
felt at that moment an extraordinary, almost irresistible impulse to seize 
the above-mentioned young woman in his arms, and to kiss her in the face 
of the company ; and she looked at him for a moment, and if I should say 
that they fell in love with each other at that single instant of time, I shoidd 
perhapsbe telling an untruth, for the fact is, that these two young people 
had been bred up by their parents for this very purpose, and their banns 
had, as it were, been read in their respective families any time these ten 
years. They went off to the piano, which was situated, as pianos usually 
are, in the back drawing-room ; and as it was rather dark, Miss Amelia, in 
the most unaffected way in the world, put her hand into Mr. Osborne's, 
who, of course, could see the way among the chairs and ottomans a great 
deal better than she could. But this arrangement left Mr. Joseph Sedley 
tete-a-tete with Eebecca, at the drawing-room table, where the latter was 
occupied in netting a green silk purse. 

" There is no need to ask family secrets," said Miss Sharp. " Those 
two have told theirs." 

" As soon as he gets his company," said Joseph, " I believe the affair is 
settled. George Osborne is as "rood a fellow as ever breathed." 

" And your sister the dearest creature in the world," said Eebecca. 
" Happy the man who wins her !" With this, Miss Sharp gave a great sigh. 

When two unmarried persons get together, and talk upon such delicate 
subjects as the present, a great deal of confidence and intimacy is presently 
established between them. There is no need of giving a special report of 
the conversation which now took place between Mr. Sedley and the young 
lady ; for the conversation, as may be judged from the foregoing specimen, 
was not especially witty or eloquent ; it seldom is in private societies, or 
an where except in very high-flown and ingenious novels. As there was 
music in the next room, the talk was carried on, of course, in a low and 
becoming tone, though, for the matter of that, the couple in the next apart- 
ment would not have been disturbed had the talking been ever so loud, so 
occupied were they with then own pursuits. 

Almost for the first time in his life, Mr. Sedley found himself talking, 
without the least timidity or hesitation, to a person of the other sex. Miss 
Eebecca asked him a great number of questions about India, which gave 



28 YANITY FAIR. 



him an opportunity of narrating many interesting anecdotes about that 
country and himself. He described the balls at Government House, and 
the manner in which they kept themselves cool in the hot weather, with 
punkahs, tatties, and other contrivances ; and he was very witty regarding 
the number of Scotchmen whom Lord Minto, the Governor- General, 
patronised ; and then he described a tiger hunt ; and the manner in which 
the mahout of his elephant had been pulled off his howdah by one of the 
infuriated animals. How delighted Miss Eebecca was at the Government 
balls, and how she laughed at the stories of the Scotch aides-de-camp, and 
called Mr. Sedley a sad wicked satirical creature ; and how frightened she 
was at the story of the elephant ! " For your mother's sake, dear Mr. 
Sedley, 5 ' she said, " for the sake of all your friends, promise never to go on 
one of those horrid expeditions." 

" Pooh, pooh, Miss Sharp," said he, pulhng up his shirt-collars ; " the 
danger makes the sport only the pleasanter." He had never been but once 
at a tiger-hunt, when the accident in question occurred, and when he was 
hah" killed — not by the tiger, but by the fright. And as he talked on, he 
grew quite bold, and actually had the audacity to ask Miss Eebecca for 
whom she was knitting the green silk purse ? He was quite surprised and 
delighted at his own graceful familiar manner. 

" For any one who wants a purse," replied Miss Eebecca, looking at 
him in the most gentle winning way. Sedley was going to make one of 
the most eloquent speeches possible, and had begun, " O Miss Sharp, 

how " when some song which was performed in the other room came to 

an end, and caused liim to hear his own voice so distinctly that he stopped, 
blushed, and blew Ms nose in great agitation. 

" Did you ever hear anything like your brother's eloquence ?" whispered 
Mr. Osborne to Amelia. " Why, your friend has worked miracles." 

" The more the better," said Miss Amelia ; who, like almost ah women 
who are worth a pin, was a match-maker in her heart, and would have been 
delighted that Joseph should carry back a wife to India. She had, too, in 
the course of this few days' constant intercourse, warmed into a most 
tender friendship for Eebecca, and discovered a million of virtues and 
amiable qualities in her which she had not perceived when they were at 
Chiswick together. For the affection of young ladies is of as rapid growth 
as Jack's bean-stalk, and reaches up to the sky in a night. It is no blame 
to them that after marriage this SehnsucM nacli der Liebe subsides. It is 
what sentimentalists, who deal in very big words, call a yearning after the 
Ideal, and simply means that women are commouly not satisfied until they 
have husbands and children on whom they may centre affections, which 
are spent elsewhere, as it were, in small change. 

Having expended her little store of songs, or having stayed long enough 
in the back drawing-room, it now appeared proper to Miss Amelia to ask 
her friend to sing. " You would not have listened to me," she said to 
Mr. Osborne, (though she knew she was telling a fib,) " had you heard 
Eebecca first." 

" I give Miss Sharp warning, though," said Osborne, " that, right or 
wrong, I consider Miss Ameba Sedley the first singer in the world." 

"You shall hear," said Ameba; and Joseph Sedley was actually pobte 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 



29 



enough to carry the candles to the piano. Osborne hinted that he shoidd 
like quite as well to sit in the dark ; but Miss Sedley, laughing, declined 
to bear him company any farther, and the two accordingly followed Mr. 
Joseph. Rebecca sang far better than her friend, (though of course 
Osborne was free to keep his opinion,) and exerted herself to the utmost, 
and, indeed, to the wonder of Amelia, who had never known her perform 
so well. She sang a Trench song, which Joseph did not understand in the 
least, and which George confessed he did not understand, and then a 
number of those simple ballads winch were the fashion forty years ago, 
and in which British tars, our King, poor Susan, blue-eyed Mary, and the 
like, were the principal themes. They are not, it is said, very brilliant, in 
a musical point of view, but contain munberless good-natured, simple 
appeals to the affections, which people understood better than the milk- 
and-water lagrime, sospiri, and felicita of the eternal Donizettian music 
with which Ave are favoured now-a-days. 

Conversation of a sentimental sort, befitting the subject, was earned on 
between the songs, to which Sambo, after he had brought the tea, the 



t 



ft*..:! : M 

■ 




debghted cook, and even Mrs. Blenkinsop, the housekeeper, condescended 
to listen on the landing-place. 



30 VANITY FAIR. 

Among these ditties was one, the last of the concert, and to the follow- 
ing effect : — 

Ah ! bleak and barren was the moor, 

Ah ! loud and piercing was the storm. 
The cottage hearth was shelter'd sure, 

The cottage hearth was bright and warm — 
An orphan boy the lattice pass'd, 

And, as he mark'd its cheerful glow, 
Felt doubly keen the midnight blast, 

And doubly cold the fallen snow. 

They mark'd him as he onward prest, 

With fainting heart and weary limb ; 
Kind voices bade him turn and rest, 

And gentle faces welcomed him. 
The dawn is up — the guest is gone, 

The cottage hearth is blazing still ; 
Heaven pity all poor wanderers lone ! 

Hark to the wind upon the hill ! 

It was the sentiment of the before-mentioned words, "When I'm gone," 
over again. As she came to the last words, Miss Sharp's " deep-toned 
voice faltered." Everybody felt the allusion to her departure, and to her 
hapless orphan state. Joseph Sedley, who was fond of music, and soft- 
hearted, was in a state of ravishment during the performance of the song, 
and profoundly touched at its conclusion. If he had had the courage ; if 
George and Miss Sedley had remained according to the former's proposal, 
in the farther room, Joseph Sedley's bachelorhood would have been at an 
end, and this work would never have been written. But at the close of 
the ditty, Rebecca quitted the piano, and giving her hand to Amelia, 
walked away into the front drawing-room twilight ; and, at this moment, 
Mr. Sambo made his appearance with a tray, containing sandwiches, jellies, 
and some guttering glasses and decanters, on which Joseph Sedley's atten- 
tion was immediately fixed. When the parents of the hottse of Sedley 
returned from their dinner-party, they found the young people so busy in 
talking, that they had not heard the arrival of the carriage, and Mr. 
Joseph was in the act of saying, " My dear Miss Sharp, one little tea- 
spoonful of jelly to recruit you after your immense — your — your delightful 
exertions." . 

" Bravo, Jos ! " said Mr. Sedley ; on hearing the bantering of which 
well-known voice, Jos instantly relapsed into an alarmed silence, and 
quickly took his departure. He did not lie awake all night thinking 
whether or not he was in love with Miss Sharp ; the passion of love never 
interfered with the appetite or the slumber of Mr. Joseph Sedley ; but he 
thought to himself how delightful it would be to hear such songs as those 
after Cutcherry — what a. distinguee girl she was — how she could speak 
Trench better than the Governor- General's lady herself — and what a sen- 
sation she would make at the Calcutta balls. " It's evident the poor 
devil's in love with me," thought he. " She is just as rich as most of the 
girls who come out to India. I might go farther, and fare worse, egad ! " 
And in these meditations hcfell asleep. 

How Miss Sharp lay awake, thinking, will he come or not to-morrow ? 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 31 

need not be told here. To-morrow came, and, as sure as fate, Mr. Joseph 
Sedley made his appearance before luncheon. He had never been known 
before to confer such an honour on Bussell Square. George Osborne was 
somehow there already (sadly " putting out " Amelia, who was writing to 
her twelve dearest friends at Chlswick Mall), and Eebecca was employed 
upon her yesterday's work. As Joe's buggy drove up, and while, after 
his usual thundering knock and pompous bustle at the door, the Collector 
of Boggley Wollah laboured up stairs to the drawing-room, knowing 
glances were telegraphed between Osborne and Miss Sedley, and the pair, 
smiling archly, looked at Eebecca, Avho actually blushed as she bent her 
fair ringlets over her netting. How her heart beat as Joseph appeared, — 
Joseph, puffing from the staircase in shining creaking boots, — Joseph, in 
a new waistcoat, red with heat and nervousness, and blushing behind his 
wadded neckcloth. It was a nervous moment for all ; and as for Amelia, 
I think she was more frightened than even the people most concerned. 

Sambo, who flung open the door and announced Mr. Joseph, followed 
grinning, in the Collector's rear, and bearing two handsome nosegays of 
flowers, winch the monster had actually had the gallantry to purchase in 
Covent Garden Market that morning — they were not as big as the hay- 
stacks which ladies cany about with them now-a-days, in cones of filagree 
paper ; but the young women were delighted with the gift, as Joseph 
presented one to each, with an exceedingly solemn and clumsy bow. 

" Bravo, Jos ! " cried Osborne. 

" Thank you, dear Joseph," said Amelia, quite ready to kiss her 
brother, if he were so minded. (And I think for a kiss from such a clear 
creature as Amelia, I woidd purchase all Mr. Lee's conservatories out of 
hand.) 

" O heavenly, heavenly flowers ! " exclaimed Miss Sharp, and smelt 
them delicately, and held them to her bosom, and cast up her eyes to the 
ceiling, in an ecstasy of admiration. Perhaps she just looked first into the 
bouquet, to see whether there was a billet-doux hidden among the floAvers ; 
but there was no letter. 

"Do they talk the language of flowers at Boggley Wollah, Sedley? " 
asked Osborne, laughing. 

" Language of fiddlestick ! " replied the sentimental youth. " Bought 
'em at Nathan's ; very glad you like 'em ; and eh, Amelia, my dear, I 
bought a pine-apple at the same thne, which I gave to Sambo. Let's have 
it for tiffin ; very cool and nice this hot weather." Eebecca said she had 
never tasted a pine, and longed beyond everything to taste one. 

So the conversation went on. I don't know on what pretext Osborne 
left the room, or why, presently, Amelia went away, perhaps to superin- 
tend the slicing of the pine-apple ; but Jos was left alone with Eebecca, 
who had resumed her work, and .the green silk and the shining needles 
were quivering rapidly under her white slender fingers. 

" What a beautiful, byoo-ootiful song that was you sang last night, dear 
Miss Sharp," said the Collector. "It made me cry almost; 'pon my 
honour it did." 

" Because you have a kind heart, Mr. Joseph : all the Sedleys have, I 
think." 



32 



VANITY FAIE. 



"It kept me awake last night, and I was trying to hum it this morning, 

in bed ; I was, upon my honour. Gollop, my doctor, came in at eleven 

(for I'm a sad invalid, you know, and see Gollop every day), and, 'gad ! 

there I was, singing away like — a robin." 

" O you droll creature ! Do let me hear you sing it." 

" Me ? jSb, you, Miss Sharp ; my dear Miss Sharp, do sing it." 

" Not now, Mr. Sedley," said Rebecca, with a sigh. " My spirits are 

not equal to it : besides, I must finish the purse. Will you help me, Mr. 

Sedley ?" And before he had time to ask how, Mr. Joseph Sedley, of the 

East India Company's service, was actually seated tete-a-tete with a young 

lady, looking at her with a most killing expression ; his arms stretched 

out before her in an imploring attitude, and his hands bound in a web of 

green silk, which she was unwinding. 

****** 

In this romantic position Osborne and Ameba found the interesting 
pah-, when they entered to announce that tiffin was ready. The skein of 
silk was just wound round the card ; but Mr. Jos had never spoken. 

"I am sure he will to-night, dear," Ameba said, as she pressed Rebecca's 
hand ; and Sedley, too, had communed with his soul, and said to himself, 
" 'Gad, I'll pop the question at Yauxhall." 



£m& 








c /? /?/, // (z,C('_scy. 



CHAPTER V. 




DOBBIN OF OURS, 

TIFFS fight with Dobbin, and the 
unexpected issue of that contest, will 
long be remembered by every man 
who was educated at Dr. Swishtail's 
famous school. The latter youth (who 
used to be called Heigh-ho Dobbin, 
Gee-ho Dobbin, and by many other 
names indicative of puerile contempt) 
was the quietest, the clumsiest, and, 
as it seemed, the dullest of all Dr. 
Swishtail's young gentlemen. His 
parent was a grocer in the city : and 
it was bruited abroad that he was ad- 
mitted into Dr. Swishtail's academy 
upon what are called 'mutual prin- 
ciples*— 'thai is to say, the expenses of his board and schooling were 
defrayed by his father, in goods not money ; and he stood there— almost 
at the bottom of the school— in his scraggy corduroys and jacket, through 
the seams of which his great big bones were bursting— as the representative 
of so many pounds of tea, candles, sugar, mottled-soap, plums, (of winch a 
very mild proportion was supplied for the puddings of the establishment), and 
other commodities. A dreadful day it was for young Dobbin when one of 
the youngsters of the school, baring run into the the town upon a poaching 
excision for hardbake and polonies, espied the cart of Dobbm & Budge, 
Grocers and Oilmen, Thames Street, London, at the Doctor's door, dis- 
ehar<rin°- a cargo of the wares in which the firm dealt. 

Youn" Dobbm had no peace after that. The jokes were frightful, and 
merciless against him. "Hullo, Dobbin," one wag woidd say, "here's 
o-ood news in the paper. Sugars is ris', my boy." Another would set 
a sum—" If a pound of mutton-caudles cost sevenpence-halfpenny, how 
much must Dobbin cost?" and a roar woidd follow from all the circle of 
youno- knaves, usher and all, who rightly considered that the selling of goods 
by retail is a shameful and infamous practice, meriting the contempt and 
scorn of all real gentlemen. 

"Your father's onlv a merchant, Osborne," Dobbin said m private to 
the little boy who had brought down the storm upon him. At which 
the latter replied haughtily, " My father '• a gentleman, and keeps his 
carriage ;" and Mr. William Dobbin retreated to a remote outhouse in 
the plav-ground, where he passed a half-holiday in the bitterest sadness 
and wo. 



AYho 'amongst us is there that does not recollect similar hours of 



I) 



34 YANITY FAIR. 



bitter, bitter childish grief ? Who feels injustice ; who shrinks before a 
slight ■ who has a sense of wrong so acute, and so glowing a gratitude 
for kindness, as a generous boy ? and how many of those gentle souls do 
you degrade, estrange, torture, for the sake of a little loose arithmetic, and 
miserable dog-latin? 

Now, William Dobbin, from an incapacity to acquire the rudiments of 
the above language, as they are propounded in that wonderful book the 
Eton Latin Grammar, was compelled to remain among the very last of 
Doctor Swishtail's scholars, and was 'taken down 5 continually by little 
fellows with pink faces and pinafores when he marched up with the lower 
form, a giant amongst them, with his downcast, stupefiedlook, his dogs-eared 
primer, and his tight corduroys. High and low, all made fun of him. 
They sewed up those corduroys, tight as they were. They cut his bed- 
strings. They upset buckets and benches, so that he might break his 
shins over them, which he never failed to do. They sent him parcels, 
which, when opened, were found to contain the paternal soap and candles. 
There was no little fellow but had his jeer and joke at Dobbin ; and he 
bore everything quite patiently, and was entirely dumb and miserable. 

Cuff, on the contrary, was the great chief and dandy of the Swishtail 
Seminary. He smuggled wine in. He fought the town-boys. Ponies 
used to come for him to ride home on Saturdays. He had his top-boots 
in his room, in which he used to hunt in the holidays. He had a gold 
repeater : and took snuff like the Doctor. He had been to the Opera, 
and knew the merits of the principal actors, preferring Mr. Kean to Mi*. 
Kemble. He could knock you off forty Latin verses in an hour. He could 
make French poetry. What else didn't he know, or couldn't he do ? They 
said even the Doctor himself was afraid of him. 

Cuff, the unquestioned king of the school, ruled over his subjects, and 
bullied them, with splendid superiority. This one blacked his shoes •. that 
toasted his bread, others would fag out, and give him balls at cricket 
during whole summer afternoons. ' Figs ' was the fellow whom he despised 
most, and with whom, though always abusing him, and sneering at him, 
he scarcely ever condescended to hold personal communication. 

One day in private, the two young gentlemen had had a difference. Pigs, 
alone in the school-room, was blundering over a home letter ; when Cuff, 
entering, bade him go upon some message, of which tarts were probably 
the subject. 

" I can't," says Dobbin ; " I want to finish my letter." 

" Tou cant ? " says Mr. Cuff, laying hold of that document, (in which 
many words were scratched out, many were mis-spelt, on which had been 
spent I don't know how much thought, and labour, and tears ; for the poor 
fellow was writing to his mother, who was fond of him, although she was 
a grocer's wife, and lived in aback parlor in Thames-street), " You can't? " 
says Mr. Cuff: " I should like to know why, pray? Can't you write to 
old Mother Pigs to-morrow ?" 

"Don't call names," Dobbin said, getting off the bench, very nervous. 

" Well, sir, will you go ? " crowed the cock of the school. 

" Put down the letter," Dobbin replied ; " no gentleman readthletterth." 

" Well, now will you go ?" says the other. 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 



"No, I won't. Don't strike, or I'll thrnasJi you," roars out Dobbin, 
springing to a leaden inkstand, and looking so wicked, that Mr. Cuff 
paxised, turned down his coat sleeves again, put his hands into his pockets, 
and walked away with a sneer. But he never meddled personally with the 
grocer's boy after that ; though we must do liim the justice to say he always 
spoke of Mr. Dobbin with contempt behind his back. 

Some time after this interview, it happened that Mr. Cuff, on a sun- 
shiny afternoon, was in the neighbourhood of poor William Dobbin, who 
was lying under a tree in the play-ground, spelling over a favourite copy 
of the Arabian Nights which he had — apart from the rest of the school, 




who were pursuing their various sports — quite lonely, and almost happy. 
If people would but leave children to themselves; if teachers would 
cease to bully them ; if parents would not insist upon directing their 
thoughts, and dominating their feelings — those feelings and thoughts 
which are a mystery to all (for how much do you and I know of each 
other, of our children, of our fathers, of our neighbour, and how far more 
beautiful and sacred are the thoughts of the poor lad or girl whom 
vou govern likely to be, than those of the dull and world-corr jpted 

D 2 



36 VANITY FAIR. 



person wlio rules him ?) — if, I say, parents and masters would leave their 
children alone a little more, — small harm would accrue, although a less 
quantity of as in prassenti might be acqivired. 

Well, William Dobbin had for once forgotten the world, and was away 
with Sindbad the Sailor in the Valley of Diamonds, or with Prince What- 
dyecallem and the Fairy Peribanou in that delightful cavern where the. 
Prince found her, and whither we should all like to make a torn' ; when 
shrill cries, as of a little feUow weeping, woke up his pleasant reverie ; 
and, looking up, he saw Cuff before him, belabouring a little boy. 

It was the lad who had peached upon him about the grocer's cart ; but 
he bore little malice, not at least towards the young and small. " How 
dare you, sir, break the bottle ? " says Cuff to the little urchin, swinging 
a yellow cricket-stump over him. 

The boy had been instructed to get over the play-ground wall (at a 
selected spot where the broken-glass had been removed from the top, and 
niches made convenient in the brick); to rim a quarter of a mile'! to purchase 
a pint of rum-shrub on credit ; to brave all the Doctor's outlying spies, 
and to clamber back into the play-ground again ; during the performance 
of which feat, his foot had slipt, and the bottle was broken, and the shrub 
had been spilt, and his pantaloons had been damaged, and he appeared 
before his employer a perfectly guilty and trembling, though harmless, 
wretch. 

" How dare you, sir, break it ?" says Cuff ; " you blundering little thief. 
You drank the shrub, and now you pretend to have broken the bottle. 
Hold out your hand, sir." 

Down came the stump with a great heavy thump on the child's hand. 
A moan followed. Dobbin looked up. The Prince Peribanoii had fled 
into the inmost cavern with Prince Ahmed : the Eoc had whisked away 
Sindbad the Sailor out of the Valley of Diamonds out of sight, far into the 
clouds : and there was every-day life before honest William ; and a big boy 
beating a little one without cause. 

" Hold out your other hand, sir," roars Cuff to his little school-fellow, 
whose face was distorted with oain. Dobbin quivered, and gathered him- 
self up in his narrow old clothes. 

" Take that, you little devil ! " cried Mr. Cuff, and down came the wicket 
again on the child's hand. — Don't be horrified, ladies, every boy at a pub- 
lic school has done it. Your children will so do and be done by, in all 
probability. Down came the wicket again ; and Dobbin started up. 

I can't tell what his motive was. Torture in a.public school is as much 
licensed as the knout in Eussia. It would be ungentlemanlike (in a 
manner) to resist it. Perhaps Dobbin's foolish soul revolted against that 
exercise of tyranny ; or perhaps he had a hankering feeling of revenge in 
his mind, and longed to measure himself against that splendid bully and 
tyrant, who had all the glory, pride, pomp, circumstance, banners flying, 
drums beating, guards saluting, in the place. Whatever may have been 
his incentive, however, up he sprang, and screamed out, " Hold off, Cuff ; 
don't bully that child any more ; or I '11 " 

" Or you '11, what ? " Cuff asked in amazement at this interruption. 
" Hold out your hand, you little beast." 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 37 

" I '11 give you the worst thrashing you ever had in your life," Dobbin 
said, in reply to the first part of Cuff's sentence; and little Osborne, 
gasping and in tears, looked up "with wonder and incredulity at seeing this 
amazing champion put up suddenly to defend him : while Cuff's astonish- 
ment was scarcely less. Fancy our late monarch George III. when he 
heard of the revolt of the North American colonies : fancy brazen Go'liah 
when little David stepped forward and claimed a meeting ; and you have 
the feelings of Mr. Eeginald Cuff when this rencontre was proposed to him. 

" After school," says he, of coiuse; after a pause and a look, as much as 
to say, 'Make your will, and communicate your best wishes to your friends 
between this time and that.' 

" As you please," Dobbin said. " You must be my bottle-holder, 
Osborne." 

" Well, if you like," little Osborne replied ; for you see his papa kept a 
carriage, and he was rather ashamed of his champion. 

Yes, when the hour of battle came, he was almost ashamed to say, " Go 
it, Figs ;" and not a single other boy in the place uttered that cry for the 
first two or three rounds of this famous combat ; at the commencement of 
which the scientific Cuff, with a contemptuous smile on his face, and as 
light and as gay as if he was at a ball, planted his blows upon Ids adver- 
sary, and floored that unlucky champion three times running. At each 
fall there was a cheer ; and everybody was anxious to have the honour of 
offering the conqueror a knee. 

" What a licking I shall get when it's over," young Osborne thought, 
picking up his man. " You'd best give in," he said to Dobbin ; " it's only 
a thrasldng, Figs, and you know I'm used to it." But Figs, all whose 
limbs were in a quiver, and whose nostrils were breathing rage, put his 
little bottle-holder aside, and went in for a fourth time. 

As he did not in the least know how to parry the blows that were aimed at 
himself, and Cuff had begun the attack on the three preceding occasions, 
without ever allowing his enemy to strike, Figs now determined that he 
would commence the engagement by a charge on his own part j and accord- 
ingly, being a left-handed man, brought that arm into action, and hit out 
a couple of times with all his might-^-once at Mr. Cuff's left eye, and once 
on his beautiful Roman nose. 

Cuff went down this time, to the astonishment of the assembly. " Well 
hit, by Jove," says little Osborne, with the air of a connoisseiu - , clapping 
his man on the back. " Give it him with the left, Figs, my boy." 

Figs's left made terrific play during all the rest of the combat. Cuff 
went down every time. At the sixth round, there were almost as many 
fellows shouting out, " Go it, Figs," as there were youths exclaiming, " Go 
it, Cuff." At the twelfth round the latter champion was all abroad, as the 
saying is, and had lost all presence of mind and power of attack or defence. 
Figs, on the contrary, was as calm as a quaker. His face being quite pale, 
his eyes shining open, and a great cut on his under lip bleeding profusely, 
gave this young fellow a fierce and ghastly air, which perhaps struck terror 
into many spectators. Nevertheless, his intrepid adversary prepared to 
close for the thirteenth time. 



38 VANITY FAIR. 



If I had the pen of a Napier, or a Bell's Life, I should like to describe 
this combat properly. It was the last charge of the Guard — (that is, it 
icould have been, only Waterloo had not yet taken place) — it was Ney's 
column breasting the hill of La Haye Sainte, bristling with ten thousand 
bayonets, and crowned with twenty eagles — it was the shout of the beef- 
eating British, as leaping down the hill they rushed to hug the enemy in 
the savage arms of battle — in other words, Cuff coming up full of pluck, 
but quite reeling and groggy, the Pig-merchant put in his left as ixsual on- 
his adversary's nose, and sent him down for the last time. 

" I think that will do for him," Figs said, as his opponent dropped as 
neatly on the green as I have seen Jack Spot's ball plump into the pocket 
at billiards ; and the fact is, when time was called, Sir. Keginald Cuff was 
not able, or did not choose, to stand up again. 

And now all the boys set up such a shout for Pigs as would make you 
think he had been their darling champion through the whole battle ; and 
as absolutely brought Dr. Swishtail out of his study, curious to know the 
cause of the uproar. He threatened to flog Figs violently, of course ; 
but Cuff, who had come to himself by this time, and was washing his 
wounds, stood up and said, " It's my fault, sir — not Figs' — not Dobbin's. 
I was bullying a little boy ; and he served me right." By which magna- 
nimous speech he not only saved his conqueror a whipping, but got back 
all Ins ascendancy over the boys which his defeat had nearly cost him. 

Young Osborne wrote home to his parents an account of the transaction. 

" Sugarcane House, Richmond, March, 18—. 

" Deab Mama, — I hope you are quite well. I should be much obliged 
to you to send me a cake and five shillings. There has been a fight here 
between Cuff & Dobbin. Cuff, you know, was the Cock of the School. 
They fought thirteen rounds, and Dobbin Licked. So Cuff is now Only 
Second Cock. The fight was about me. Cuff was licking me for breaking 
a bottle of milk, and Figs woiddn't stand it. We call him Figs because 
his father is a Grocer — Figs & Budge, Thames St., City — I think as he 
fought for me you ought to buy your Tea & Sugar at his father's. Cuff 
goes home every Saturday, but can't this, because he has 2 Black Eyes. 
He has a white Pony to come and fetch him, and a groom in livery on a 
bay mare. I wish my Papa would let me have a Pony, and I am, 

" Your dutiful Son, 

" George Sedley Osborne. 

"P.S. Give my love to little Emmy. I am cutting her out a Coach 
in cardboard." 

In consequence of Dobbin's victory, his character rose prodigiously in 
the estimation of all his schoolfellows, and the name of Figs which had 
been a byword of reproach became as respectable and popular a nickname 
as any other in use in the school. " After all, it 's not his fault that his 
father 's a grocer," George Osborne said, who, though a little chap, had a 
very high popularity among the Swishtail youth ; and his opinion was 
received with great applause. It was voted low to sneer at Dobbin about 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 39 



this accident of birth. "Old Pigs" grew to be a name of kindness and 
endearment ; and the sneak of an usher jeered at him no longer. 

And Dobbin's spirit rose with his altered circumstances. He made 
wonderful advances in scholastic learning. The superb Cuff himself, at 
whose condescension Dobbin coidd only blush and wonder, helped him on 
with his Latin verses ; " coached " him in play-hours ; carried him trium- 
phantly out of the little-boy class into the middle-sized form ; and even 
there got a fair place for him. It was discovered, that although dull at 
classical learning, at mathematics he was uncommonly quick. To the 
contentment of all, he passed third in algebra, and got a French prize-book 
at the public midsummer examination. You should have seen his mother's 
face when Telemaque (that delicious romance) was presented to him by the 
Doctor in the face of the whole school and the parents and company, with an 
inscription to Gulielnio Dobbm. All the boys clapped hands in token 
of applause and sympathy. His blushes, his stumbles, his awkwardness, 
and the number of feet which he crushed as he went back to his place, 
who shall describe or calculate? Old Dobbin, his father, who now 
respected him for the first time, gave him two guineas publicly ; most of 
which he spent in a general tuck-out for the school : and- he came back in 
a tail-coat after the holidays. 

Dobbin was much too modest a young fellow to suppose that this 
happy change in all his circumstances arose from his own generous and 
mauly disposition : he chose, from some perverseness, to attribute his good 
fortune to the sole agency and benevolence of little George Osborne, to 
whom henceforth he vowed such a love and affection as is only felt by 
children — such an affection, as we read in the charming fairy-book, 
uncouth Orson had for splendid young Valentine his conqueror. He 
flung himself down at little Osborne's feet, and loved him. Even 
before they were acquainted, he had admired Osborne in secret. ISTow he 
was his valet, his dog, Ms man Friday. He believed Osborne to be the 
possessor of every perfection, to be the handsomest, the bravest, the most 
active, the cleverest, the most generous of created boys. He shared his 
money with him : bought him uncountable presents of knives, pencil-cases, 
gold seals, toffee, Little Warblers, and romantic books, with large coloured 
pictures of knights and robbers, in many of which latter you might read 
inscriptions to George Sedley Osborne, Esquire, from his attached friend 
"William Dobbin — the which tokens of homage George received very 
graciously, as became his superior merit. 

So that when Lieutenant Osborne, coming to Russell Square on the 
day of the Vauxhall party, said to the ladies, " Mrs. Sedley, Ma'am, I 
hope you have room ; I 've asked Dobbin of ours to come and dine here, 
and go with us to Vauxhall. He 's almost as modest as Jos." 

" Modesty ! pooh," said the stout gentleman, casting a vainqueitr look 
at Miss Sharp. 

"He is — but you are incomparably more graceful, Sedley," Osborne 
added, laughing. " I met him at the Bedford, when I went to look for 
you ; and I told him that Miss Amelia was come home, and that we were 
all bent on going out for a night's pleasuring ; and that Mrs. Sedley had 



40 VANITY FAIR. 



forgiven Ins breaking the punch-bowl at the child's party. Don't you 
remember the catastrophe, Ma'am, seven years ago ? " 

" Over Mrs. Flamingo's crimson silk gown," said good-natured Mrs. 
Sedley. " What a gawky it was ! And Iris sisters are not much more 
graceful. Lady Dobbin was at Highbury last night with three of them. 
Such figures ! my dears." 

"The Alderman's very rich, isn't he?" Osborne said archly. "Don't 
you think one of the daughters would be a good spec for me, Ma'am ? " 

" You foolish creature ! Who w r ould take you, I should like to know, 
with your yellow face ? And what can Alderman Dobbin have amongst 
fourteen ? " 

" Mine a yellow face ? Stop till you see Dobbin. Why, he had the 
yellow fever three times ; twice at Nassau, and once at St. Kitts." 

"Well, well ; yours is quite yellow enough for us. Isn't it, Emmy? " 
Mrs. Sedley said: at which speech Miss Amelia only made a smile and a 
blush ; and looking at Mr. George Osborne's pale interesting countenance, 
and those beautiful black, curling, shining whiskers, which the young 
gentleman himself regarded with no ordinary complacency, she thought in 
her little heart, that in His Majesty's army, or in the wide world, there 
never was such a face or such a hero. " I don't care about Gaptain 
Dobbin's complexion," she said, " or about his awkwardness. / shall 
always like him, I know;" her little reason being, that he was the friend 
and champion of George. 

" There 's not a finer fellow in the service," Osborne said, " nor a bet- 
ter officer, though he is not an Adonis, certainly." And he looked towards 
the glass himself with much naivete ; and in so doing, caught Miss Sharp's 
eye fixed keenly upon him, at which he blushed a little, and Rebecca 
thought in her heart, ' Ah, mon lean Monsieur ! I tlrink I have your gage ' 
— the little artful minx ! 

That evening, when Amelia came tripping into the drawing-room in a 
white muslin frock, prepared for conquest at Vauxhall, singing like a 
lark, and as fresh as a rose — a very tall ungainly gentleman, with large 
hands and feet, and large ears, set off by a closely cropped head of black 
hair, and in the hideous military frogged coat and cocked-hat of those 
times, advanced to meet her, and made her one of the clumsiest bows that 
was ever performed by a mortal. 

This was no other than Captain William Dobbin, of His Majesty's 

Regiment of Foot, returned from yellow fever, in the West Indies, to 
which the fortune of the service had ordered his regiment, whilst so many 
of his gallant comrades were reaping glory in the Peninsula. 

He had arrived with a knock so very timid and quiet, that it was inau- 
dible to the ladies upstairs : otherwise, you may be sure Miss Amelia woidd 
never have been so bold as to come singing into the room. As it was, the 
sweet fresh little voice went right into the Captain's heart, and nestled 
there. When she held out her hand for him to shake, before he enve- 
loped it in his own, he paused, and thought — "Well, is it possible — are 
you the little maid I remember in the pink frock, such a short time ago — 
the night I upset the punchbowl, just after I was gazetted. Are you the 
little girl that George Osborne said should marry him ? What a blooming 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 



41 



young creature you seem, and what a prize the rogue has got ! " All tins 
he thought, before he took Amelia's hand into his own, and as he let his 
cocked-hat fall. 




His history since he left school, until the very moment when Ave have 
the pleasure of meeting him again, although not fully narrated, has yet, I 
think, been indicated sufficiently for an ingenious reader by the conversa- 
tion in the last page. Dobbin, the despised grocer, was Alderman Dobbin — 
Alderman Dobbin was Colonel of the City Light Horse, then burning with 
military ardour to resist the French Invasion. Colonel Dobbin's corps, 
in which old Mr. Osborne himself was but an indifferent corporal, had 
been reviewed by the Sovereign and the Duke of York ; and the colonel 
and alderman had been knighted. His son had entered the army : and 
young Osborne followed presently in the same regiment. They had served 
in the West Indies and in Canada. Their regiment had just come home, 
and the attachment of Dobbin to George Osborne was as warm and 
generous now, as it had been, when the two were schoolboys. 

So these worthy people sat down to dinner presently. They talked 
aboiit war and glory, and Boney and Lord Wellington, and the last 
Gazette. In those famous days every gazette had a victory in it, and the 



42 VANITY FAIR. 



two gallant young men longed to see their own names in the glorious list, 
and cursed their unlucky fate to belong to a regiment which had been away 
from the chances of honour. Miss Sharp kindled with this exciting talk, 
but Miss Sedley trembled and grew quite faint as she heard it. Mr. Jos 
told several of his tiger-hunting stories, finished the one about Miss Cut- 
ler and Lance the surgeon : helped Eebecca to everything on the table, 
and himself gobbled and drank a great deal. 

He sprang to open the door for the ladies, when they retired, with the 
most killing grace — and coming back to the table, filled himself bumper 
after bumper of claret, which he swallowed with nervous rapidity. 

" He 's priming himself," Osborne whispered to Dobbin, and at length 
the hour and the carriage arrived for Vauxhall. 



CHAPTER VI. 



YAUXHALL. 




know that the time I am piping is a very mild one, 
(although there are some terrific chapters coming 
presently) and must beg the good-natured reader to 
remember, that we are only discoursing at present, 
about a stock-broker's family in Bussell-square, who 
are taking walks, or luncheon, or dinner, or talking 
and making love as people do in common life, and 
without a single passionate and wonderful incident to 
mark the progress of their loves. The argument 
stands thus — Osborne in love with Amelia, has asked 
an old friend to dinner and to Yauxhall — Jos Sedley 
is in love with Eebecca. Will he marry her ? That 
is the great subject now in hand. 

We might have treated this subject in the genteel, 
or in the romantic, or in the facetious manner. Sup- 
pose we had laid the scene in Grosvenor-square, with 
the very same adventaes — would not some people have listened? Suppose 
we had shown how Lord Joseph Sedley fell in love, and the Marquis of 
Osborne became attached to Lady Amelia, with the full consent of the 
Duke, her noble father : or instead of the supremely genteel, suppose Ave 
had resorted to the entirely low, and described what was going on in 
Mr. Sedley's kitchen ; — how black Sambo was in love with the cook, (as 
indeed he was), and how he fought a battle with the coachman in her 
behalf; how the knife-boy was caught stealing a cold shoulder of mutton, 
and Miss Sedley's new femme de cliambre refused to go to bed without a 
wax candle ; such incidents might be made to provoke much delightful 
laughter, and be supposed to represent scenes of " life." Or if, on the 
contrary, we had taken a fancy for the terrible, and made the lover of the 
new femme de cJtambre a professional burglar, who bursts into the house 
with his band, slaughters black Sambo at the feet of his master, and carries 
off Amelia in her night-dress, uot to be let loose again till the third volume, 
we should easily have constructed a tale of thrilling interest, through the 
fiery chapters of which the reader shoidd hurry, panting. Fancy this 
chapter having been headed 



THE NIGHT ATTACK. 

The night was dark and wild — the clouds black — black — ink-black. The 
wild wind tore the chimney-pots from the roofs of the old houses and 
sent the tiles whirling and crashing tlirough the desolate streets. No soul 
braved that tempest — the watchmen shrank into their boxes, whither the 
searching rain followed them — where the crashing thunderbolt fell and de- 
stroyed them — one had so been slain opposite the Foundling. A scorched 
gaberdine, a shivered lantern, a staff rent in twain by the flash, were all that 



44 



VANITY FAIR. 



remained of stout Will Steadfast. A hackney coachman had been blown 
off his coach-box, in Southampton Eow — and whither ? But the whirl- 
wind tells no tidings of its victim, save his parting scream as he is borne 
onwards ! Horrible night ! It was dark, pitch dark ; no moon, No, 
no. No moon. Not a star. Not a little feeble, twinkling, solitary star. 
There had been one at early evening, but he showed his face, shuddering, 
for a moment in the black heaven, and then retreated back. 

One, two, three ! It is the signal that Black Yizard had agreed on. 

"Mofy! is that your snum?" said a voice from the area. "I'll 
gully the dag and bimbole the clicky in a snufl'kin." 

" Nuffle your clod, and beladle your glumbanions," said Yizard, with 
a dreadful oath. " This way, men ; if they screak, out with your snickers 
and slick ! Look to the pewter room, Blowser. You, Mark, to the old 
gaff's mopus box ! and I," added he, in a lower but more horrible voice, 
" I will look to Ameba ! " 

There was a deadsilence. " Ha 1 " said Yizard, " was that the click of 
a pistol ? " 




Or suppose we adopted the genteel rose-water style. The Marquis of 
Osborne has just despatched his petit tigre with a billet-doux to the Lady 
Amelia. 




A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 



45 



The dear creature has received it from the hands of her femme de c/iamire, 
Mademoiselle Anastasie. 




Dear Marquis ! what amiable politeness ! His lordship's note contains 
the wished-for invitation to Devonshire House ! 

" Who is that monstrous fine girl," said the. Semillant Prince G — rge 
of C — mbr — dge, at a mansion in Piccadilly the same evening (having 
just arrived from the omnibus at the opera.) " My dear Sedley, in the 
name of all the Cupids, introduce me to her I" 

"Her name, Monseigneur" said Lord Joseph, bowing gravely, "is 
Sedley." 

" Vous avez alors un Men beau mm", said the young Prince, turning on 
his heel rather disappointed, and treading on the foot of an old gentleman 
who stood behind, in deep admiration of the beautiful Lady Amelia. 

" Trent emille tonnerres ! " shouted the victim, writhing under the 
agonie dit moment. 

" I beg a thousand pardons of your Grace," said the young e'tourdi, 
blushing, and bending low his fair curls. He had trodden on the toe of 
the great Captain of the age ! 

" Oh, Devonshire ! " cried the young Prince, to a tall and good-natured 
nobleman, whose features proclaimed him of the blood of the Cavendishes. 
"A word with you! Have you still a mind to part with your diamond 
necklace ? " 

" I have sold it for two hundred and fifty thousand pounds, to Prince 
Easterhazy here." 

" Und das war gar nicld theuer, potztau-send ! " exclaimed the princely 
Hungarian, &c, &c, &c 

Thus you see, ladies, how this story might have been written, if the 
author had but a mind ; for, to tell the truth, he is just as familiar with 
Newgate as with the palaces of our revered aristocracy, and has seen the 
outside of both. But as I don't understand the language or manners of 
the Rookery, nor that polyglot conversation which, according to the fashion- 
able novelists, is spoken by the leaders of ton; we must, if you please, 
preserve our middle course modestly, amidst those scenes and personages 



46 VANITY PAIE. 



with which we are most familiar. In a word, this chapter about Yauxhall 
would have been so exceeding short but for the above little disquisition, that 
it scarcely woidd have deserved to be called a chapter at all. And yet it is 
a chapter, and a very important one too. Are not there httle chapters in 
everybody's life, that seem to be nothing, and yet affect all the rest of the 
history ? 

Let us then step into the coach with the Eussell-square party, and be 
off to the Gardens. There is barely room between Jos and Miss Sharp, 
who are on the front seat. Mr. Osborne sitting bodkin opposite, between 
Captain Dobbin and Ameba. 

Every soul in the coach agreed, that on that night, Jos would propose to 
make Eebecca Sharp Mrs. Sedley. The parents at home had acquiesced 
in the arrangement, though, between ourselves, old Mr. Sedley had a feebng 
very much akin to contempt for his son. He said he was vain, selfish, 
lazy, and effeminate. He could not endure his airs as a man of fashion, 
and laughed heartily at his pompous braggadocio stories. " I shall leave 
the fellow half my property," he said ; " and he will have, besides, plenty 
of his own ; but as I am perfectly sure that if you, and I, and his sister 
were to die to-morrow he would say ' Good Gad ! ' and eat his dinner just 
as well as usual, I am not going to make myself anxious about him. Let 
him marry whom he likes. It 's no affair of mine." 

Amelia, on the other hand, as became a young woman of her prudence 
and temperament, was quite enthusiastic for the match. Once or twice 
Jos had been on the point of saying something very important to her, to 
which she was most willing to lend an ear, but the fat fellow could not be 
brought to unbosom hunself of his great secret, and very much to Ins 
sister's disappointment he only rid himself of a large sigh and turned 
away. 

This mystery served to keep Amelia's gentle bosom in a perpetual flutter 
of excitement. If she did not speak with Eebecca on the tender subject, 
she compensated herself with long and intimate conversations with Mrs. 
Blenkinsop, the housekeeper, who dropped some hints to the lady's-maid, 
who may have cursorily mentioned it to the cook, who carried the news, I 
have no doubt, to all the tradesmen, so that Mr. Jos's marriage was now 
talked off by a very considerable number of persons in the Eussell-square 
world. 

It was, of coru'se, Mrs. Sedley's opinion that her son would demean 
himself by a marriage with an artist's daughter. "But, lor', Ma'am," 
ejaculated Mrs. Blenkinsop, " we was only grocers when we married Mr. 
S., who was a stock-broker's clerk, and we hadn't five hundred pounds 
among us, and we're rich enough now." And Amelia was entirely of this 
opinion, to which, gradually, the good-natured Mrs. Sedley was brought. 

Mr. Sedley was neutral. "Let Jos marry whom he likes," he said; 
" it 's no affair of mine. This girl has no fortune ; no more had Mrs. 
Seclley. She seems good-humoured and clever, and will keep him in order, 
perhaps. Better she, my dear, than a black Mrs. Sedley, and a dozen of 
mahogany grandchildren." 

So that everything seemed to smile upon Eebecca's fortunes. She took 
Jos's arm, as a matter of course, on going to dinner ; she had sate by him 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 47 

on the box of his open carriage (a most tremendous " buck " lie was, as 
be sat there, serene, in state, driving his greys), and though nobody said a 
word on the subject of the marriage, everybody seemed to understand it. 
All she wanted was the proposal, and ah ! how Eebecca now felt the 
want of a mother ! — a dear tender mother, who woidd have managed the 
business in ten minutes, and, in the course of a bttle dehcate confidential 
conversation, would have extracted the interesting avowal from the .bash- 
fid bps of the young man ! 

Such was the state of affah'S as the carriage crossed Westminster-bridge. 

The party was landed at the Boyal Gardens in due time. As the 
majestic Jos stepped out of the creaking vehicle the crowd gave a cheer 
for the fat gentleman, who blushed and looked very big and mighty, as he 
walked away with Eebecca under his arm, George, of course, took charge 
of Ameba. She looked as happy as a rose-tree in sunshine. 

"I say, Dobbin," says George, "just look to the shawls and things, 
there 's a good fellow." And so while he paned off with Miss Sedley, and 
Jos squeezed through the gate into the Gardens with Eebecca at his side, 
honest Dobbin contented himself by giving an arm to the shawls, and by 
pacing at the door for the whole party. 

He walked very modestly behind them. He was not wilbng to spod 
sport. About Eebecca and Jos he did not care a fig. But he thought 
Ameba worthy even of the brilhant George Osborne, and as he saw that 
good-looking couple, threading the walks to the gnd's debght and wonder, 
he watched her artless happiness with a sort of fatherly pleasure. Perhaps 
he felt that he would have bked to have something on his own arm besides 
a shawl (the people laughed at seeing the gawky young officer carrying this 
female burthen) ; but William Dobbin was very bttle addicted to selfish 
calculation- at all; and so long as his friend was enjoying himself, how 
should he be discontented ? And the truth is, that of aU the debghts of the 
Gardens ; of the hundred thousand extra lamps, which were always bghted ; 
the fiddlers, in cocked hats, who played ravishing melodies under the gilded 
cockle-shell in the midst of the gardens ; the singers, both of comic and 
sentimental ballads, who charmed the ears there ; the country dances, 
formed by bouncing cockneys and cockneyesses, and executed amidst jump- 
ing, thumping, and laughter ; the signal which announced that Madame 
Saqui was about to mount skyward on a slack-rope ascending to the stars ; 
the hermit that always sat in the illuminated hermitage ; the dark walks, 
so favourable to the interviews of young lovers ; the pots of stout handed 
about by the people in the shabby old liveries ; and the twinkling boxes, 
in which the happy feasters made-bebeve to eat sbces of almost invisible 
ham ; — of aU these things, and of the gentle Simpson, that kind smiling 
idiot, who, I daresay, presided even then over the place — Captam TVilbarn 
Dobbin did not take the sbghtest notice. 

He carried about Amelia's white cashmere shawl, and having attended 
under the gdt cockle sheb, whde Mrs. Sabnon performed the Battle of 
Borodino, (a savage Cantata against the Corsican upstart, who had lately 
met with his Eussian reverses) — Mr. Dobbin tried to hum it as he walked 
away, and found he was humming — the tune which Ameba Sedley sang 
on the stairs, as she came down to dinner. 



48 



VANITY FA1E, 



He burst out laughing at himself; for the truth is, he could sing no 
better than an owl. 

It is to be understood, as a matter of course, that our young people, 
being in parties of two and two, made the most solemn promises to keep 
together during the evening, and separated in ten minutes afterwards. 
Parties at Vauxhall always did separate, but 'twas only to meet again at 
supper-time, when they could talk of their mutual adventures in the 
interval. 

What were the adventures of Mr. Osborne and Miss Amelia ? That is 
a secret. But be sure of this — they were perfectly happy, and correct in 
their behaviour ; and as they had been in the habit of being together any- 
time these fifteen years, their tete-a-tete offered no particular novelty. 

But when Miss Bebecca Sharp and her stout companion lost themselves 




in a solitary walk, in which there were not above five score more of couples 
similarly straying, they both felt that the situation was extremely tender 
and critical, and now or never was the moment, Miss Sharp thought, to 
provoke that declaration which was trembling on the timid lips of Mr. 
Sedley. They had previously been to the panorama of Moscow, where a 
rude fellow, treading on Miss Sharp's foot, caused her to fall back with a 
little shriek into the arms of Mr. Sedlev, and tliis little incident increased 



A XOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 49 

the tenderness and confidence of that gentleman to such a degree, that he 
told her several of his favourite Indian stories over again for, at least, 
the sixth time. 

" How I should like to see India ! " said Rebecca. 
" Should you ? " said Joseph, with a most killing tenderness ; and was 
no doubt about to follow up this artful interrogatory by a question still 
more tender (for he puffed and panted a great deal, and Rebecca's hand, 
which was placed near his heart, could count the feverish pulsations of 
that organ), when, oh, provoking ! the bell rang for the fireworks, and, 
a great scuffling and running taking place, these interesting lovers were 
obliged to follow in the stream of people. 

Captain Dobbin had some thoughts of joining the party at supper : as, 
in truth, he found the Yauxhall amusement not particularly lively — but he 
paraded twice before the box where the now united couples were met, and 
nobody took any notice of him. Covers were laid for four. The mated 
pahs were prattHng away quite happily, and Dobbin knew he was as clean 
forgotten as if he had never existed in this world. 

" I should only be de troy," said the Captain, looking at them rather 
wistfully. " I'd best go and talk to the hermit," — and so he strolled off 
out of the hum of men, and noise, and clatter of the banquet, into the 
dark walk, at the end of which lived that well-known pasteboard Solitary. 
It wasn't very good fun for Dobbin — and, indeed, to be alone at Vauxhall, 
I have found, from my own experience, to be one of the most dismal 
sports ever entered into by a bachelor. 

The two couples were perfectly happy then in their box: where the 
most delightful and intimate conversation took place. Jos was in his 
glory, ordering about the waiters with great majesty. He made the salad; 
and uncorked the Champagne ; and carved the chickens ; and ate and 
drank the greater part of the refreshments on the tables. Finally, he 
insisted upon having a bowl of rack punch ; everybody had rack punch at 
Vauxhall. " Waiter, rack punch." 

That bowl of rack punch was the cause of all this history. And why 
not a bowl of rack punch as well as any other cause ? Was not a bowl of 
prussic acid the cause of fair Kosamond's retiring from the world ? Was 
not a bowl of wine the cause of the demise of Alexander the Great, or at 
least, does not Dr. Lempriere say so ? — so did this bowl of rack punch 
influence the fates of all the principal characters in this " Novel without a 
Hero," which we are noAv relating. It influenced their life, although most 
of them^did not taste a drop of it. 

The young ladies did not drink it ; Osborne did not like it ; and the 
consequence was that Jos, that fat gourmand, drank up the whole con- 
tents of the bowl ; and the consequence of his drinking up the whole 
contents of the bowl was, a liveliness which at first was astonishing, and 
then became almost painfhl; for he talked and laughed so loud as to 
bring scores of listeners round the box, much to the confusion of the 
innocent party within it ; and, volunteering to sing a song (which he did 
in that maudhn high-key peculiar to gentlemen in an inebriated state), he 
almost drew away the audience who were gathered round the musicians 

E 



50 VANITY PAIR. 



in the gilt scollop- shell, and received from his hearers a great deal of 
applause. 

" Brayvo, Eat un!" said one; " Angcore, Daniel Lambert!" said 
another; " What a figure for the tight-rope !" exclaimed another wag, to 
the inexpressible alarm of the ladies, and the great anger of Mr. Osborne. 

" Tor Heaven's sake, Jos, let us get up and go," cried that gentleman, 
and the young women rose. 

" Stop, my dearest diddle-diddle-darling," shouted Jos, now as bold as 
a Hon, and clasping Miss Eebecca round the waist. Eebecca started, but 
she could not get away her hand. The laughter outside redoubled. Jos 
continued to drink, to make love, and to sing; and, winking and waving 
his glass gracefully to his audience, challenged all or any to come in and 
take a share of his punch. 

Mi*. Osborne was just on the point of knocking down a gentleman in 
top-boots, who proposed to take advantage of this invitation, and a com- 
motion seemed to be inevitable, when by the greatest good luck a gentle- 
man of the name of Dobbin, who had been walking about the gardens, 
stepped up to the box. "Be off, you foolth!" said this gentleman — 
shouldering off a great number of the crowd, who vanished presently 
before his cocked hat and fierce appearance — and he entered the box in a 
most agitated state. 

"Good Heavens ! Dobbin, where have you been ?" Osborne said, seizing 
the white cashmere shawl from his friend's arm, and huddbng up Amelia 
in it. — " Make yourself useful, and take charge of Jos here, whilst I take 
the ladies to the carriage." 

Jos was for rising to interfere — but a single push from Osborne's finger 
sent him puffing back into his seat again, and the lieutenant was enabled 
to remove the ladies in safety. Jos kissed his hand to them as they 
retreated, and hiccupped out Bless you ! Bless you ! Then seizing Cap- 
tain Dobbin's hand, and weeping in the most pitiful way, he confided to 
that gentleman the secret of his loves. He adored that girl who had just 
gone out ; he had broken her heart, he knew he had, by his conduct ; he 
would marry her next morning at St. George's Hanover Square ; he 'd 
knock up the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth : he woidd, by Jove ! 
and have him in readiness; and, acting on this hint, Captain Dobbin 
shrewdly induced him to leave the gardens and hasten to Lambeth palace, 
and, when once out of the gates, easily conveyed this fat bacchanaban 
into a hackney-coach, which deposited him safely at his lodgings. 



George Osborne conducted the girls home in safety: and when the door 
was closed upon them, and as he walked across Bussell-square, laughed so 
as to astonish the watchman. Amelia looked -very ruefully at her friend, 
as they went up-stairs, and kissed her, and went to bed without any more 
talking. 



"D" 



" He must propose to-morrow," thought Eebecca. " He called me his 
soul's darling, four times ; he squeezed my hand in AmeUa's presence. He 
must propose, to-morrow." And so thought Amelia, too. And I dare say 
she thought of the dress she was to wear as bride's-maid, and of the 




v&gJ&*U 






s6/l & 



j-fofe rf- ezoczfer/lffz^?. 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 



51 



presents which she should make to her nice little sister-in-law, and of a 
subsequent ceremony in which she herself might play a principal part, &c, 
and &c, and Src, and &c. 

Oh, ignorant young creatures ! How little do you know the effect of 
rack-punch ! What is the rack in the punch, at night, to the rack in the 
head of a morning ? To this truth I can vouch as a man ; there is no 
headache in the world like that caused by Vauxhall punch. Through the 
lapse of twenty years, I can remember the consequence of two glasses ! — 
two wine-glasses ! — but two, upon the honour of a gentleman ; and Joseph 
Sedley, who had a liver complaint, had swallowed at least a quart of the 
abominable mixture. 

That next morning, which Eebecca thought was to dawn upon her 
fortune, found Sedley groaning in agonies which the pen refuses to describe. 



J.lfffl 

he 




Soda-water was not invented yet. Small beer — will it be believed ! — was the 
only drink with which unhappy gentlemen soothed the fever of their pre- 
vious night's potation. With this mild beverage before him, George 
Osborne found the ex-collector of Boggleywollah groaning on the sofa at 
his lodgings. Dobbin was already in the room, good-naturedly tending 
his patient of the night before. The two officers looking at the prostrate 
Bacchanalian, and askance at each other, exchanged the most frightful 
sympathetic grins. Even Sedley' s valet, the most solemn and correct of 
gentlemen, with the muteness and gravity of an undertaker, could hardly 
keep his countenance in order, as he looked at his unfortunate master. 

"Mr. Sedley was uncommon wild last night, sir," he whispered in 
confidence to Osborne, as the latter mounted the stair. " He wanted to 
fight the 'ackney-coachman, sir. The Capting was obliged to bring him 
up stairs in his harms bke a babby." A momentary smile flickered over 
Mr. Brush's features as he spoke ; instantly, however, they relapsed into 
their usual unfathomable calm, as he flung open the drawing-room door, 
and announced " Mr. Hosbin." 

" How are you, Sedley ? " that young wag began, after surveying his 

e 2 



52 VANITY FAIR. 



victim. " No bones broke ? There 's a hackney-coachman down stairs 
Avith a black eye, and a tied up head, vowing he '11 have the law of you." 

"What do you mean, — law?" Sedley faintly asked. 

"For thrashing him last night — didn't he, Dobbin? You hit out, sir, 
like Molyneux. The watchman says he never saw a fellow go down so 
straight. Ask Dobbin." 

" You did have a round with the coachman," Captain Dobbin said, " and 
showed plenty of fight too." 

" And that fellow with the white coat at Yauxhall ! How Jos drove at 
him ! How the women screamed ! By Jove, sir, it did my heart good to 
see you. I thought you civilians had no pluck ; but I '11 never get in your 
way when you are in your cups, Jos." 

" I believe I 'rn very terrible, when I 'm roused," ejaculated Jos from the 
sofa, and made a grimace so dreary and ludicrous, that the Captain's 
politeness could restrain him no longer, and he and Osborne fired off a 
ringing volley of laughter. 

Osborne pursued his advantage pitilessly. He thought Jos a milksop. 
He had been revolving in his mind the marriage-question pending between 
Jos and Rebecca, and was not over -well pleased that a member of a family 
into which he, George Osborne, of the — th, was going to many, should 
make a mesalliance with a little nobody — a little upstart governess. "You 
hit, you poor old fellow?" said Osborne. " You terrible ? Why, man, 
you couldn't stand — you made everybody laugh in the Gardens, though 
you were crying yourself. Y r ou were maudlin, Jos. Don't you remember 
singing a song ? " 

" A what ? " Jos asked. 

"A sentimental song, and calling Eosa, Rebecca, what's her name, 
Ameha's httle friend — your dearest diddle, diddle, darling?" And this 
ruthless young fellow, seizing hold of Dobbin's hand, acted over the scene, 
to the horror of the original performer, and in spite of Dobbin's good- 
natured entreaties to him to have mercy. 

" Why should I spare him ? " Osborne said to his friend's remonstrances, 
when they quitted the invalid, leaving him under the hands of Doctor 
Glauber. " What the deuce right has he to give himself his patronizing 
airs, and make fools of us at Vauxhall ? Who 's this little school-girl that 
is ogling and making love to him ? Hang it, the family 's low enough 
already, without her. A governess is all very well, but I 'd rather have a 
lady for my sister-in-law. I 'm a liberal man ; but I 've proper pride, and 
know my own station : let her know hers. And I '11 take down that 
great hectoring Nabob, and prevent him from being made a greater fool 
than he is. That 's why I told him to look out, lest she brought an action 
against him." 

" I suppose you know best," Dobbin said, though rather dubiously. 
" You always were a Tory, and your family 's one of the oldest in England. 
But,'' 



" Come and see the girls, and make love to Miss Sharp yourself," the 
lieutenant here interrupted, his friend ; but Captain Dobbin declined to 
join Osborne in his daily visit to the young ladies in Russell Square. 

As he walked down Southampton Row, from Holborn, he laughed as 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEKO. 53 

he saw, at the Sedley Mansion, in two different stories, two heads on the 
look-out. 

The fact is, ]\Iiss Amelia, in the drawing-room balcony, was looking 
very eagerly towards the opposite side of the Square, where Mr. Osborne 
dwelt, on the watch for the lieutenant himself ; and Miss Sharp, from her 
little bed-room on the second-floor, was in observation until Mr. Joseph's 
great form should heave in sight. 

" Sister Anne is on the watch-tower," said he to Amelia, " but there's 
nobody coming ;" and laughing and enjoying the joke hugely, he described 
in the most ludicrous terms to Miss Sedley, the dismal condition of her 
brother. 

" I think it 's very cruel of you to laugh, George," she said, looking 
particularly unhappy ; but George only laughed the more at her piteous 
and discomfited mien, persisted in thinking the joke a most diverting one, 
and when Miss Sharp came down stairs, bantered her with a great deal of 
liveliness upon the effect of her charms on the fat civilian. 

" Miss Sharp ! if you coidd but see him this morning," he said — 
" moaning in his flowered dressing-gown — writhing on his sofa ; if you 
could but have seen him lolling out his tongue to Glauber the apothecary." 
"See whom?" said Miss Sharp. 

" Whom ? whom ? Captain Dobbin, of course, to whom we were all 
so attentive, by the way, last night." 

" We were very unkind to him," Emmy said, blushing" very much. 
"I — I quite forgot him." 

" Of course you did," cried Osborne, still on the laugh. " One can 't 
be ahcays thinking about Dobbin, vou know, Amelia. Can one, Miss 
Sharp?" 

"Except when he overset the glass of wine at dinner," Miss Sharp said, 
with a haughty air and a toss of the head, " I never gave the existence of 
Captain Dobbin one single moment's consideration." 

" Yery good, Miss Sharp, I'll tell him," Osborne said; and as he spoke 
Miss Sharp began to have a feeling of distrust and hatred towards this 
young officer, which he was quite unconscious of having inspired. " He 
is to make fun of me, is he ? " thought Rebecca. " Has he been laughing 
about me to Joseph ? Has he frightened him ? Perhaps he won't come." — 
A film passed over her eyes, and her heart beat quite thick. 

"You're always joking," said she, smiling as innocently as she could. 
" Joke away, Mr. George ; there 's nobody to defend me." And George 
Osborne, as she walked away — and Amelia looked reprovingly at him — 
felt some bttle manly compunction for having inflicted any unnecessary 
unkindness upon this helpless creature. " My dearest Amelia," said he, 
" you are too good — too kind. You don't know the world. I do. And 
your little friend Miss Sharp must learn her station." 
" Don't you think Jos will— " 

" Upon my word, my dear, I don't know. He may, or may not. I 'm 
not his master. I only know he is a very foolish vain fellow, and put my 
dear little girl into a very painful and awkward position last night. My 
dearest diddle — diddle — darling 1" He was off laughing again; and he did 
it so drolly that Emmy laughed too. 



54 



VANITY FAIR. 



AH that day Jos never came. But Amelia had no fear about this ; for 
the little schemer had actually sent away the page, Mr. Sambo's aide-de- 
camp, to Mr. Joseph's lodgings, to ask for some book he had promised, 
and how he was ; and the reply through Jos's man, Mr. Brash, was, that 
his master was ill in bed, and had just had the doctor with him. He must 



come to-morrow, she thought, but she never had 



the courage to 



speak 



word on the subject to Bebecca ; nor did that young woman herself allude 
to it in any way during the whole evening after the night at Yauxhall. 

The next day, however, as the two young ladies sate on the sofa, 
pretending to work, or to write letters, or to read novels, Sambo came into 
the room with his usual engaging grin, with a packet under his arm, and 
a note on a tray. " Note from Mr. Jos, Miss," says Sambo. 

How Amelia trembled as she opened it ! 




So it ran : — 

"Dear Amelia, — I send you the Orphan of the Forest. I was too 
ill to come yesterday. I leave town to-day for Cheltenham. Pray excuse 
me, if you can, to the amiable Miss Sharp, for my conduct at Yauxhall, 
and entreat her to pardon and forget every Avord I may have uttered when 
excited by that fatal supper. As soon as I have recovered, for my health 
is very much shaken, I shall go to Scotland for some months, and am 

" Truly yours, 

" JOS. SSDLEY." 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 55 

It was the death- warrant. All was over. Amelia did not dare to look 
at Bebecca's pale face and burning eyes, but she dropt the letter into her 
friend's lap ; and got up, and went upstairs to her room, and cried her 
little heart out. 

Blenkinsop, the housekeeper, there sought her presently with conso- 
lation ; on whose shoulder Amelia wept confidentially, and relieved herself 
a good deal. "Don't take on, Miss. I didn't like to tell you. But none 
of us in the house have liked her except at fust. I sor her with my own 
eyes reading your Ma's letters. Pinner says she 's always about your 
trinket-box and drawers, and everybody's drawers, and she 's sure she 's 
put your white ribbing into her box." 

" I gave it her, I gave it her," Amelia said. 

But this did not alter Mrs. Blenkinsop's opinion of Miss Sharp. " I 
don't trust them governesses, Pinner, they 're neither one thing nor t'other. 
They give themselves the hairs and-hupstarts of ladies, and their wages is 
no better than you nor me." 

It now became clear to every soul in the house, except poor Amelia, 
that Rebecca should take her departure, and high and low (always with 
the one exception) agreed that that event shoidd take place as speedily as 
possible. Our good child ransacked all her drawers, cupboards, reticules, 
and gimcrack boxes — passed in review all her gowns, fichus, tags, bobbins, 
laces, silk stockings, and fallals — selecting this thing and that and the other, 
to make a little heap for Eebecca. And going to her Papa, that generous 
British merchant, who had promised to give her as many guineas as she 
was years old — she begged the old gentleman to give the money to dear 
Eebecca, who must want it, while she lacked for nothing. 

She even made George Osborne contribute, and nothing loth (for he was 
as free-handed a young fellow as any in the army), he went to Bond 
Street, and bought the best hat and spencer that money coidd buy. 

" That 's George's present to you, Eebecca, dear," said Amelia, quite 
proud of the bandbox conveying these gifts.* " "What a taste he has ! 
There 's nobody like him." 

" Nobody," Eebecca answered. " How thankful I am to him !" She 
was thinking in her heart, " It was George Osborne who prevented my 
marriage. — And she loved George Osborne accordingly. 

She made her preparations for departure with great equanimity ; and 
accepted all the kind little Amelia's presents, after just the proper degree 
of hesitation and reluctance. She vowed eternal gratitude to Mrs. Secuey, 
of course ; but did not intrude herself upon that good lady too much, who 
was embarrassed, and evidently wishing to avoid her. She kissed Mr. 
Sedley's hand, when he presented her with the purse ; and asked permis- 
sion to consider him for the future as her kind, kind friend and protector. 
Her behaviour was so affecting that he was going to write her a checqne 
for twenty pounds more ; but he restrained his feelings : the carriage was 
in waiting to take him to dinner : so he tripped away with a " God bless 
you, my dear. Always come here when you come to town, you know. — ■ 
Drive to the Mansion House, James." 

* It was the author's intention, faithful to history, to depict all the characters of this 
tale in their proper costumes, as they wore them at the commencement of the century. 



56 



VANITY FAIK. 



Finally came the parting with Miss Amelia, over which picture I intend 
to throw a veil. But after a scene in which one person was in earnest 
and the other a perfect performer — after the tenderest caresses, the most 
pathetic tears, the smelling-bottle, and some of the very best feelings of 
the heart, had been called into requisition — Rebecca and Amelia parted, 
the former vowing to love her friend for ever and ever and ever. 



But when I remember the appearance of people in those days, and that an officer and lady 
were actually habited like this — 




I have not the heart to disfigure my heroes and heroines by costumes so hideous ; and 
have, on the contrary, engaged a model of rank dressed according to the present fashion. 



CHAPTER VII. 



CRAWLEY OF QUEEN S CRAWLEY. 



MOXG the most respected of the 
names beginning in C, which the 
Court - Guide contained, in the 
year l'S — , was that of Crawley, Sir 
Pitt, Baronet, Great Gaunt Street, 
and Queen's Crawler, Hants. This 
honourable name had fisavred con- 
stantly also in the Parliamentary 
list for many years, in conjunction 
with that of a number of other 
worthy gentlemen who sat in turns 
for the borough. - 

It is related, with regard to the 
borough of Queen's Crawley, that 
Queen Elizabeth in one of her pro- 
gresses, stopping at Crawley to 
breakfast, was so delighted with 
some remarkably fine Hampshire 
beer which was then presented to 
her by the Crawley of the day (a 
handsome gentleman with a trim beard and a good leg), that she forthwith 
erected Crawley into a borough to send two members to Parliament ; and 
the place, from the day of that illustrious visit, took the name of Queen's 
Crawley, which it holds up to the present moment. And though by the 
lapse of time, and those mutations which ages produce in empires, cities, 
and boroughs, Queen's Crawley was no longer so populous a place as it 
had been in Queen Bess's time — nay, was come down to that condition of 
borough which used to be denominated rotten — yet, as Sir Pitt Crawley 
would say with perfect justice in his elegant way, " Kotten ! be hanged — 
it produces me a good fifteen hundred a year." 

Sir Pitt Crawley (named after the great Commoner), was the son of 
"VValpole Crawley, first Baronet, of the Tape and Sealing- Wax Office 
in the reign of George II., when he was impeached for peculation, as 
were a great number of other honest gentlemen of those days ; and 
Walpole Crawley was, as need scarcely be said, son of John Churchill 
Crawley, named after the celebrated military commander of the reign of 
Queen Anne. The family tree (which hangs up at Queen's Crawley), 




58 VANITY FAIE. 



furthermore mentions Charles Stuart, afterwards called Barebones Craw- 
ley's son, the Crawley of James the First's time, and finally, Queen 
Elizabeth's Crawley, who is represented as the foreground of the picture 
in his forked beard and armour. Out of his waistcoat, as usual, grows a 
tree, on the main branches of which the above illustrious names are in- 
scribed. Close by the name of Sir Pitt Crawley, Baronet (the subject 
of the present memoir), are written that of his brother, the Reverend 
Bute Crawley (the great Commoner was in disgrace when the reverend 
gentleman was born), rector of Crawley-cum-Snailby, and of various 
other male and female members of the Crawley family. 

Sir Pitt was first married to Grizzel, sixth daughter of Mungo Binkie, 
Lord Binkie, and cousin, in consequence of Mr. Dundas. She brought 
him two sons : Pitt, named not so much after his father as after the 
heaven-bom minister ; and Bawdon Crawley, from the Prince of Wales's 
friend, whom his Majesty George IV. forgot so completely. Many years 
after her ladyship's demise, Sir Pitt led to the altar Bosa, daughter of Mr. 
G. Grafton of Mudbury, by whom he had two daughters, for whose 
benefit Miss Eebecca Sharp was now engaged as governess. It will be 
seen that the young lady was come into a family of very genteel con- 
nexions, and was about to move in a much more distinguished circle than 
that humble one which she had just quitted in Bussell Square. 

She had received her orders to join her pupils, in a note which was 
written upon an old envelope, and which contained the following words : — 

" Sir Pitt Crawley begs Miss Sharp and baggidge may be hear on 
Tuesday, as I leaf for Queen's Crawley to-morrow morning erly. 
" Great Gaimt Street." 

Eebecca had iiever seen a Baronet, as far as she knew, and as soon as 
she had taken leave of Amelia, and counted the guineas which good- 
natured Mr. Sedley had put into a purse for her, and as soon as she had done 
wiping her eyes with her handkerchief (which operation she concluded the 
very moment the carriage had turned the corner of the street), she began 
to depict in her own mind what a baronet must be. " I wonder, does he 
wear a star?" thought she, "or is it only lords that wear stars? But 
he will be very handsomely dressed in a court suit, with ruffles and his 
hair a little powdered, bke Mr. Wroughton at Covent Garden. I sup- 
pose he will be awfully proud, and that I shall be treated most contemptu- 
ously. Still I must bear my hard lot as well as I can — at least, I 
shall be amongst gentlefolks, and not with vulgar city people:" and she 
fell to thinking of her Bussell Square friends with that very same philo- 
sophical bitterness with which, in a certain apologue, the fox is represented 
as speaking of the grapes. 

Having passed through Shiverly Square into Great Gaunt Street, the 
carriage at length stopped at a tall gloomy house between two other tall 
gloomy houses, each with a hatchment over the middle drawing-room 
window; as is the custom of houses in Great Gaunt Street, in which gloomy 
locality death seems to reign perpetual. The shutters of the first floor 
windows of Sir Pitt's mansion were closed — those of the dining-room were 
partially open, and the blinds neatly covered up in old newspapers. 




r - >Vxv>/ m/z/r&J a<CfW /?&/'''/' /'W/ -^/j 4?'f 1st, /? /■/■*?/':/? 






A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEKO. 59 

John, the groom, who had driven the carriage alone, did not : care to 
descend to ring the bell ; and so prayed a passing milk-boy to perform 
that office for him. When the bell was rung, a head appeared between 
the interstices of the dining-room shutters, and the door was opened by a 
man in drab breeches and gaiters, with a dirty old coat, a foul old neck- 
cloth lashed round his bristly neck, a shining bald head, a leering red face, 
a pah- of twinkling grey eyes, and a mouth perpetually on the grin. 

"This Sir Pitt Crawley's? " says John, from the bos. 

" Ees," says the man at the door, with a nod. 

" Hand down these 'ere trunks then," said John. 

" Hand 'n down yourself," said the porter. 

"Don't you see I can't leave my bosses? Come, bear a hand, my fine 
feller, and Miss will give you some beer," said John, with a horse-laugh, 
for he was no longer respectful to ]\Iiss Sharp, as her connexion with the 
family was broken off, and as she had given nothing to the servants on 
coming away. 

The bald-headed man, taking Ins hands out of his breeches pockets, 
advanced on this summons, and throwing Miss Sharp's trunk over his 
shoulder, earned it into the house. 

" Take this basket and shawl, if you please, and open the door," said 
Miss Sharp, and descended from the carriage hi much indignation. " I 
shall write to Mr. Sedley and inform him of your conduct," said she to 
the groom'. 

" Don't," replied that functionary.. "I hope you've forgot nothink? 
Miss 'Meha's gownds — have you got them — as the lady's-maid was to 
have 'ad ? I hope they '11 fit you. Shut the door, Jim, you '11 get no good 
out of 'er" continued John, pointing with his thumb towards Miss Sharp : 
" a bad lot, I tell you, a bad lot," and so saying, Mr. Sedley's groom drove 
away. The truth is, he was attached to the lady's-maid in question, and 
indignant that she should have been robbed of her perquisites. 

On entering the dining-room, by the orders of the individual in gaiters, 
Rebecca found that apartment not more cheerful than such rooms usually 
are, when genteel families are out of town. The faithful chambers seem, 
as it were, to mourn the absence of their masters. The turkey carpet has 
rolled itself up, and retired sulkily under the sideboard: the pictures 
have hidden their faces behind old sheets of broAvn paper : the ceiling lamp 
is muffled up in a dismal sack of brown holland: the window-curtains have 
disappeared under all sorts of shabby envelopes : the marble bust of Sir 
"VYalpole Crawley is looking from its black corner at the bare boards and 
the oiled fire-irons, and the empty card-racks over the mantel-piece : the 
cellaret has lurked away behind the carpet : the chairs are turned up heads 
and tails along the walls : and in the dark corner opposite the statue, is an 
old-fashioned crabbed knife-box, locked and sitting on a dumb waiter. 

Two kitchen chairs, and a round table, and an attenuated old poker and 
tongs were, however, gathered round the fire-place, as was a saucepan over 
a feeble sputtering fire. There was a bit of cheese and bread, and a tin 
candlestick on the table, and a little black porter in a pint-pot. 

" Had your dinner ? I suppose. It is not too warm for you ? Like a 
drop of beer ? " 



60 



VANITY FAIE. 



" Where is Sir Pitt Crawley ? " said Miss Sharp majestically. 

" He, he ! I he Sir Pitt Crawley. Eeklect you owe me a pint for 
bringing down your luggage. He, he ! Ask Tinker if I baynt. Mrs. 
Tinker, Miss Sharp ; Miss Governess, Mrs. Charwoman. Ho, ho ! " 




The lady addressed as Mrs. Tinker, at this moment made her appear- 
ance with a pipe and a paper of tobacco, for which she had been despatched 
a minute before Miss Sharp's arrival ; and she handed the articles over to 
Sir Pitt, who had taken his seat by the fire. 

" Where 's the farden ? " said he. " I gave you three halfpence. Where 's- 
the change ? old Tinker." 

" There ! " replied Mrs. Tinker, flinging down the coin ; " it 's only 
baronets as cares about farthings." 

" A farthing a day is seven shillings a year," answered the M.P. ; 
" seven shillings a year is the interest of seven guineas. Take care of your 
farthings, old Tinker, and your guineas will come quite nat'ral." 

"You maybe sure it's Sir Pitt Crawley, young woman," said Mrs. 
Crawley, surlily ; " because he looks to his farthings. You'll know him 
better afore long." 

" And like me none the worse, Miss Sharp," said the old gentleman, 
with an air almost of politeness. " I must be just before I'm generous." 

" He never gave, away a farthing in his life," growled Tinker. 



A NOVEL "WITHOUT A HEEO. 61 

" Never, and never will : it's against my principle. Go and get another 
chair from the kitchen, Tinker, it' you want to sit down; and then we'll 
have a bit of supper." 

Presently the baronet plunged a fork into the saucepan on the fire, and 
withdrew from the pot a piece of tripe and an onion, which he divided into 
pretty equal portions, and of which he partook with Mrs. Tinker. "You 
see, Miss Sharp, when I'm not here Tinker's on board wages : when 
I'm in town she dines with the family. Haw! haw! I'm glad Miss 
Sharp's not hungry, ain't you, Tink? " ' And they fell to upon their frugal 
supper. 

After supper Sir Pitt Crawley began to smoke his pipe ; and when it 
became quite dark, he lighted the rushlight in the tin candlestick, and pro- 
ducing from an interminable pocket a huge mass of papers, began reading 
them, and putting them in order. 

" I'm here on law business, my dear, aud that 's how it happens that I 
shall have the pleasure of such a pretty travelling companion to-morrow." 

" He 's always at law business," said Mrs. Tinker, taking up the pot of 
porter. 

" Drink and drink about," said the Baronet. "Yes, my dear, Tinker is 
quite right: I've lost and won more lawsuits than any man in England. 
Look here at Crawley, Bart. v. Snaffle. I '11 throw him over, or my name's 
not Pitt Crawley. Podder and another versus Crawley, Bart. Overseers 
of Snaily parish against Crawley, Bart. They can 't prove it 's common : 
I '11 defy 'em ; the land 's mine. It no more belongs to the parish than 
it does to you or Tinker here. I '11 beat 'em, if it cost me a thousand 
guineas. Look over the papers ; you may if you like, my dear. Do you 
write a good hand ? I '11 make you useful when we 're at Queen's Crawley, 
depend on it Miss Sharp. Now the dowager 's dead I want some one." 

" She was as bad as he," said Tinker. " She took the law of every one of 
her tradesmen ; and turned away forty-eight footmen in four year." 

" She was close — very close," said the orphan, simply; "but she was a 
valyble woman to me, and saved me a steward." — And in this confidential 
strain, and much to the amusement of the new-comer, the conversation 
continued for a considerable time. "Whatever Sir Pitt Crawley's qualities 
might be, good or bad, he did not make the least disguise of them. He 
talked of himself incessantly, sometimes in the coarsest and vulgarest 
Hampshire accent ; sometimes adopting the tone of a man of the world. 
And so, with injunctions to Miss Sharp to be ready at five in the morning, 
he bade her good night. "You'll sleep with Tinker to-night," he said; 
" It 's a big bed, and there 's room for two. Ladv Crawley died in it. 
Good night." 

Sir Pitt went off after this benediction, and the solemn Tinker, rushlight 
in hand, led the way up the great bleak stone stairs, past the great dreary 
drawing-room doors, with the handles muffled up in paper, into the great 
front bed-room, where Lady Crawley had slept her last. The bed and 
chamber were so funereal and gloomy, you might have fancied, not only 
that Lady Crawley died in the room, but that her ghost inhabited it. 
Bebecca sprang about the apartment, however, with the greatest liveliness, 
and had peeped into the huge wardrobes, and the closets, and the cupboards, 



62 VANITY FAIE. 



and tried the drawers which were locked, and examined the dreary pictures 
and toilette appointments, while the old charwoman was saying her prayers. 
" I shouldn't like to sleep in this yeer bed without a good conscience, 
Miss," said the old woman. " There 's room for us and a half-dozen of 
ghosts in it," says Kebecca. " Tell me all about Lady Crawley and Sir 
Pitt Crawley, and everybody, my dear Mrs. Tinker." 

But old Tinker was not to be pumped by this little cross-questioner ; and 
signifying to her that bed was a place for sleeping, not conversation, set up 
in her corner of the bed such a snore as only the noise of innocence can 
produce. Kebecca lay awake for a long, long time, thinking of the morrow, 
and of the new world into which she was going, and of her chances of 
success there. The rushlight flickered in the basin. The mantel-piece 
cast up a great black shadow, over half of a mouldy old sampler, which her 
defunct ladyship had worked, no doubt, and over two little family pictures 
of young lads, one in a college gown, and the other in a red jacket like a 
soldier. When she went to sleep, Kebecca chose that one to dream about. 

At four o'clock, on such a roseate summer's morning as even made 
Great Gaunt Street look cheerful, the faithful Tinker, having wakened her 
bedfellow, and bid her prepare for departure, unbarred and unbolted the 
great hall door, (the clanging and clapping whereof startled the sleeping 
echoes in the street), and taking her way into Oxford Street, summoned a 
coach from a stand there. It is needless to particularize the number of 
the vehicle, or to state that the driver was stationed thus early in the 
neighbourhood of Swallow Street, in hopes that some young buck, reeling 
homeward from the tavern, might need the aid of his vehicle, and pay him 
with the generosity of intoxication. 

It is likewise needless to say, that the driver, if he had any such hopes 
as those above stated, was grossly disappointed; and that the worthy 
Baronet whom he drove to the City did not give him one single penny 
more than his fare. It was in vain that Jehu appealed and stormed ; that 
he flung down Miss Sharp's bandboxes in the gutter at the 'Necks, and 
swore he would take the law of his fare. 

" You'd better not," said one of the ostlers ; " it 's Sir Pitt Crawley." 

" So it is, Joe," cried the Baronet, approvingly; " and I 'd like to sec 
the man can do me." 

" So should oi," said Joe, grinning sulkily, and mounting the baronet's 
baggage on the roof of the coach. 

" Keep the box for me, Leader," exclaims the Member of Parliament to 
the coachman; who replied, "Yes, Sir Pitt," with a touch of his hat, and 
rage in his soul, (for he had promised the box to a young gentleman from 
Cambridge, who would have given a crown to a certainty), and Miss Sharp 
was accommodated with a back seat inside the carriage, which may be said 
to be carrying her into the wide world. 

How the young man from Cambridge sulkily put his five great coats in 
front ; but was reconciled when little Miss Sharp was made to quit the 
carriage, and mount up beside him — when he covered her up in one of his 
Benjamins, and became perfectly good-humoured — how the asthmatic 
gentleman, the prim lady, who declared upon her sacred honoiu- she had 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 



63 



never travelled in a public carriage before, (there is always such, a lady in 
a coach, — Alas ! was ; for the coaches, where are they ?), and the fat widow 
with the brandy-bottle, took their places inside — how the porter asked 




them all for money, and got sixpence from the gentleman and five greasy 
halfpence from the fat widow — and how the carnage at length drove away 
— now, threading the dark lanes of Aldersgate, anon clattering by the Blue 
Cupola of Paul's, gingling rapidly by the strangers' entry of Fleet-Market, 
which, with Exeter 'Change, has now departed to the world of shadows — 
how they passed the White Bear in Piccadilly, and saw the dew rising up 
from the market -gardens of Knightsbridge — how Tmniham-green, Brentford, 
Bagshot, were passed — need not be told here. But the writer of these 
pages, who hath pursued in former days, and in the same bright weather, 
the same remarkable journey, cannot but think of it with a sweet and 
tender regret. TVhat is the road now, and its merry incidents of life ? Is 
there no Chelsea or Greenwich for the old honest pimple-nosed coachmen ? 
I wonder where are they, those good fellows ? Is old Weller alive or dead ? 
and the waiters, yea, and the inns at which they waited, and the cold- 
round-of-beefs inside, and the stunted ostler, with his blue nose and clinking 
pail, where is he, and where is his generation ? To those great geniuses now 
in petticoats, who shall write novels for the beloved reader's children, these 



64 



VANITY FAIR. 



men and tilings -will be as much legend and history as Nineveh, or Coeur 
de Lion, or Jack Sheppard. Tor them stage-coaches will have become 
romances — a team of four bays as fabulous as Bucephalus or Black Bess. 
Ah, how their coats shone, as the stable-men pulled their clothes off, and away 
they went — ah, how then tails shook, as with smoking sides at the stage's 
end they demurely walked away into the inn-yard. Alas ! we shall never 
hear the horn sing at midnight, or see the pike-gates fly open any more. 
"Whither, however, is the light four-inside Trafalgar coach carrying us ? 
Let us be set down at Queen's Crawley without farther divagation, and 
see how Miss Rebecca Sharp speeds there. 



fiSIP ' /0 (;. 





CHAPTER VIII. 



PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL. 

Miss Rebecca Sharp to Miss Amelia Sedley, Russell Square, London. 
(Tree.— Pitt Crawley.) 

" My deakest, sweetest Amelia, 

"With what mingled joy and sorrow do I take up the pen to write 
to my dearest friend ! Oh, what a change between to-day and yesterday ! 
Now I am friendless and alone ; yesterday I was at home, in the sweet 
company of a sister, whom I shall ever ever cherish ! 

" I will not tell you in what tears and sadness I passed the fatal night 
in which I separated from you. Ton went on Tuesday to joy and happi- 
ness, with your mother and your devoted young soldier by your side ; and 
I thought of you all night, dancing at the Perkins's, the prettiest, I am 
sure, of all the young ladies at the Ball. I was brought by the groom in the 
old carriage to Sir Pitt Crawley's town house, where, after John the groom 



66 VANITY FA1E. 



had behaved most rudely and insolently to me (alas! 'twas safe to insult 
poverty and misfortune !), I was given over to Sir P.'s care, and made to 
pass the night in an old gloomy bed, and by the side of a horrid gloomy 
old charwoman, who keeps the house. I did not sleep one single wink 
the whole night. 

" Sir Pitt is not what we silly girls, when we used to read Cecilia at 
Chiswick, imagined a baronet must have been. Anything, indeed, less 
like Lord Orville cannot be imagined. Fancy an old, stumpy, short, 
vulgar, and very dirty man, in old clothes and shabby old gaiters, who 
smokes a horrid pipe, and cooks his own horrid supper in a saucepan. 
He speaks with a country accent, and swore a great deal at the old char- 
woman, at the hackney coachman who drove us to the inn where the coach 
went from, and on which I made the journey outside for the greater part 
of the way. 

"I was wakened at daybreak by the charwoman, and having arrived at 
the inn, was at first placed inside the coach. But, when we got to 
a place called Mudbury, where the rain began to fall very heavily — will 
you believe it ? — I was forced to come outside ; for Sir Pitt is a proprietor 
of the coach, and as a passenger came at Mudbury, who wanted an inside 
place, I was obliged to go outside in the rain, where, however, a young 
gentleman from Cambridge College sheltered me very kindly in one of his 
several great coats. 

" This gentleman and the guard seemed to know Sir Pitt very well, and 
laughed at him a great deal. They both agreed in calling him an old screw ; 
which means a very stingy, avaricious person. He never gives any money 
to any body, they said (and this meanness I hate) ; and the young gentle- 
man made me remark that we drove very slow for the last two stages on 
the road, because Sir Pitt was on the box, and because he is proprietor of 
the horses for this part of the journey. 'But won't I flog 'em on to 
Squashmore, when I take the ribbons?' said the young Cantab. 'And 
sarve 'em right, Master Jack,' said the guard. When I comprehended 
the meaning of this phrase, and that Master Jack intended to drive the 
rest of the way, and revenge himself on Sir Pitt's horses, of course 
I laughed too. 

" A carriage and four splendid horses, covered with armorial bearings, 
however awaited us at Leakington, four miles from Queen's Crawley, and 
we made our entrance to the baronet's park in state. There is a fine 
avenue of a mile long leading to the house, and the woman at the lodge- 
gate (over the pillars of which are a serpent and a dove, the supporters of 
the Crawley arms,) made us a number of curtsies as she flung open the 
old iron carved doors, which are something like those at odious Chiswick. 

" ' There 's an avenue,' said Sir Pitt, 'amile long. There's six thousand 
pound of timber in them there trees. Do you call that nothing?' He 
pronounces avenue — evenue, and nothing — nothinlc, so droll ; and he had 
a Mr. Hodson, his hind from Leakington, into the carriage with him, and 
they talked about distraining, and selling up, and draining and subsoiling, 
and a great deal about tenants and farming — much more than I could 
understand. Sam Miles had been caught poaching, and Peter Bailey had 
gone to the workhouse at last. ' Serve him right,' said Sir Peter ; ' him 



A XOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 67 

and his fam'ly lias been cheating me on that farm these hundred and fifty 
years.' Some old tenant, I suppose, who could not pay his rent. Sir 
Pitt might have said ' he and his family,' to be sure ; but rich baronets do 
not need to be careful about grammar, as poor governesses must be. 

" As we passed, I remarked a beautiful church-spire rising above some old 
elms in the park ; and before them, in the midst of a lawn, and some 
outhouses, an old red house with tall chimneys covered with ivy, and the 
windows shining in the sun. ' Is that your church, sir ? ' I said. 

" ' Yes, hang it,' (said Sir Pitt, only he used, dear, a much wickeder 
word) ; ' how's Buty, Hodson ? Buty 's my brother Bute, my dear — my 
brother the parson. Buty and the Beast I call him, ha, ha ! '* 

" Hodson laughed too, and then looking more grave and nodding his 
head, said, ' I'm afraid he's better, Sir Pitt. He was out on his pony 
yesterday, looking at our corn.' 

" ' Looking after his tithes, hang 'un (only he used the same wicked 
word). "Will brandy and water never kill him ? He 's as tough as old 
whatdyecallum — old Methusalein.' 

" Mr. Hodson laughed again. ' The young men is home from college. 
They've whopped John Scroggins till he's well nigh dead.' 

" ' "Whop my second keeper ! ' roared out Sir Pitt. 

" ' He was on the parson's ground, sir,' replied Mr. Hodson ; and 
Sir Pitt in a fury swore that if ever he caught 'em poaching on his 
ground, he'd transport 'em, by the lord he would. However, he said, 
' I've sold the presentation of the living, Hodson ; none of that breed shall 
get it I war'nt ; ' and Mr. Hodson said he was quite right : aud I have no 
doubt from this that the two brothers are at variance — as brothers often 
are, and sisters too. Don't you remember the two Miss Scratchley's at 
Chiswick, how they used always to fight and quarrel — and Mary Box, 
how she was always thumping Louisa ? 

" Presently, seeing two little boys gathering sticks in the wood, Mr. 
Hodson jumped out of the carnage, at Sir Pitt's order, and rushed upon 
them with his whip. 'Pitch into 'em Hodson,' roared the baronet; 
' flog their little souls out, and bring 'em up to the house, the vagabonds; 
I'll commit 'em as sure as my name's Pitt.' And presently we heard 
Mr. Hodson's whip clacking on the shoulders of the poor little blubber- 
ing wretches, and Sir Pitt, seeing that the malefactors were in custody, 
drove on to the hall. 

" All the servants were ready to meet us, and 

* * * ' * * * * 

" Here, my dear, I was interrupted last night by a dreadful thumping 
at my door : and who do you think it was ? Sir Pitt Crawley in his 
night-cap and dressing-gown, such a figure ! As I shrank away from 
such a visitor, he came forward and seized my candle ; ' no candles after 
eleven o'clock, Miss Becky,' said he. ' Go to bed in the dark you pretty 
little hussey (that is what he called me), and unless you wish me to come 
for the candle every- night, mind and be in bed at eleven.' And with this, 
he and Mr. Horrocks the butler went off laughing. You may be sure 
I shall not encourage any more of their visits. They let loose two immense 
blood-hounds at night, which all last night were veiling and howling at 

f2 



68 VANITY FA1JK. 



the moon. ' I call the dog Gorer,' said Sir Pitt ; ' he's killed a man that 
dog has, and is master of a bull, and the mother I used to call . Flora ; 
but now I calls her Aroarcr, for she's too old to bite. Haw, haw ! ' 

" Before the house of Queen's Crawley, which is an odious old-fashioned 
red brick mansion, with tall chimneys and gables of the style of Queen 
Bess, there is a terrace flanked by the family dove and serpent, and on 
which the great hall door opens. And oh,, my dear, the great hall I am 
sure is as big and as glum as the great hall in the dear castle of Udolpho. 
It has a large fire-place, in which we might put half Miss Pinkerton's 
school, and the grate is big enough to roast an ox at the very least. 
Bound the room hang I don't know how many generations of Grawleys, 
some with beards and ruffs, some with huge wigs and toes turned out ; 
some dressed in long straight stays and gowns that look as stiff as 
towers, and some with long ringlets, and, oh my dear ! scarcely any stays 
at all. At one end of the hall is the great staircase all. in black oak, as 
dismal as may be, and on either side are tall doors with stag's heads over 
them, leading to the billiard-room and the library, and the great yellow 
saloon and the morning-rooms. I think there are at least twenty bed-rooms 
on the first floor ; one of them has the bed in which Queen Elizabeth 
slept ; and I have been taken by my new pupils through all these fine 
apartments this morning. They are not rendered less gloomy, I promise 
you, by having the shutters always shut ; and there is scarce one of the 
apartments, but when the bght was let into it, I expected to see a ghost 
in the room. We have a school-room on the second floor, with my bed- 
room leading into it on one side, and that of the young ladies on the 
other. Then there are, Mr. Pitt's apartments — Mr. Crawley, he is called — 
the eldest son, and Mr. Bawdon Crawley's rooms — he is an officer like 
somebody, and away with his regiment. There is no want of room I 
assure you. You might lodge all the people in Bussell Square in the 
house, I think, and have space to spare. 

" Half an hour after our arrival, the great dinner bell was rung, and I 
came down with my two pupils (they are very thin insignificant little 
chits of ten and eight years old). I came down in your dearmnsiin 
gown (about which that odious Mrs. Pinner was so rude, because you 
gave it me) ; for I am to be treated as one of the family, except on com- 
pany days, when the young ladies and I are to dine up-stairs. 

" Well, the great dinner bell rang, and we all assembled in the little 
drawing-room where my Lady Crawley sits. She is the second Lady Craw- 
ley, and mother of the young ladies. She was an ironmonger's daughter, 
and her marriage was thought a great match. She looks as if she had 
been handsome once, and her eyes are always weeping for the loss of her 
beauty. She is pale and meagre and high-shouldered; and has not a 
word to say for herself, evidently. Her step-son, Mi - . Crawley, was like- 
wise in the room. He was in full dress, as pompous as an undertaker. 
He is pale, thin, ugly, silent ; he has thin legs, no chest, hay-coloured 
whiskers, and straw-coloured hair. He is the very picture of his sainted 
mother over the mantel-piece — Griselda of the noble house of Binkie. 

" ' This is the new governess,' Mr. Crawley, said Lady Crawley, coining 
forward and taking my hand ; ' Miss Sharp.' 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 



69 



" ' ! ' said Mr. Crawley, and pushed his head once forward and 
began again to read a great pamphlet with which he was busy. 

" ' I hope you will be kind to my girl,' said Lady Crawley ; ' with her 
pink eyes always full of tears.' 

" ' Law Ma, of course she will,' said the eldest : ' and I saw at a 
glance that I need not be afraid of tltat woman.' 

<: ' My Lady is served,' says the Butler, in black, in an immense white 
shirt-frill, that looked as if it had been one of the Queen Elizabeth ruffs 
depicted in the hall ; and so taking Mr. Crawley's arm, she led the way to 
the dining-room, whither I followed with my little pupils in each hand. 







" Sir Pitt was already in the room with a silver jug. He had just been 
to the cellar, and was in full dress too ; that is, he had taken his gaiters 
off, and showed his little dumpy legs in black worsted stockings. The 
side-board was covered with glistening old plate — old cups, both gold and 
silver ; old salvers and cruet stands, like Eimdell and Bridge's shop. 
Everything on the table was in silver too, and two footmen, with red hair 
and canary-coloured liveries, stood on either side of the side-board. 

" Mr. Crawley said a long grace, and Sir Pitt said amen, and the gm;t 
silver dish-covers were removed. 

" ' TVhat have we for dinner, Betsy ? ' said the Baronet. 

" ' Mutton broth, I believe, Sir Pitt,' answered Lady Crawley. 



70 VANITY FA1B. 



" ' Mouton aux navets' added the Butler gravely, (pronounce, if you please, 
moutongonavvy) ; ' and the soup is potage de mouton a VJScossaise. The 
side dishes contain pommes de terre au naturel, and choujteur a Veau! 

" ' Mutton's mutton,' said the Baronet, ' and a devilish good thing. 
What ship was it, Horrocks, and when did you kill ? ' 

" ' One of the black-faced Scotch, Sir Pitt : we killed on Thursday.' 

"'Who took any?' 

" ' Steel, of Mudbury, took the saddle and two legs, Sir Pitt ; but he says 
the last was too young and confounded woolly, Sir Pitt.' 

" ' Will you take some potage ? Miss ah — MissBlunt,' said Mr. Crawley. 

" ' Capital Scotch broth, my dear,' said Sir Pitt, ' though they call it 
by a Prench name. 5 

" ' I believe it is the custom, sir, in decent society,' said Mr. Crawley, 
haughtily, ' to call the dish as I have called it ;' and it was served to us 
on silver soup-plates by the footmen in the canary coats, with the mouton 
mix navets. Then ' ale and water ' were brought, and served to us 
young ladies in wine-glasses. I am not a judge of ale, but I can say with 
a clear conscience I prefer Avater. 

"While we were enjoying our repast, Sir Pitt took occasion to ask what 
had become of the shoulders of the mutton ? 

" ' I believe they were eaten in the servants' hall,' said my lady, humbly. 

" 'They was, my lady,' said Horrocks, ' and precious little else we get 
there neither.' 

" Sir Pitt burst into a hoarse laugh, and continued his conversation with 
Mr. Horrocks. ' That there little black pig of the Kent sow's breed must 
be uncommon fat now.' 

" ' It 's not quite busting, Sir Pitt,' said the Butler with the gravest air, 
at which Six Pitt, and with him the young ladies, this time, began to laugh 
violently. 

" ' Miss Crawley, Miss Eose Crawley,' said Mr. CraAvley, ' your laughter 
strikes me as being exceedingly out of place.' 

"'Nevermind my Lord,' said the Baronet, 'we'll try the porker on 
Saturday. Kill 'un on Saturday morning, John Horrocks. Miss Sharp 
adores pork, don't you, Miss Sharp ? ' 

"And I think this is all the conversation that I remember at dinner. 
When the repast was concluded a jug of hot water was placed before Sir 
Pitt, with a case-bottle containing, I believe, rum. Mr. Horrocks served- 
myself and my pupils with three little glasses of wine, and a bumper was 
poured out for my lady. When we retired, she took from her work- 
drawer an enormous interminable piece of knitting ; the young ladies 
began to play at cribbage with a dirty pack of cards. We had but one 
candle lighted, but it was in a magnificent old silver candlestick, and after a 
very few questions from my lady, I had my choice of amusement between 
a volume of sermons, and a pamphlet on the com-laws, which Mr. CraAvley 
had been reading before dinner. 

" So we sat for an hour until steps were heard. 

" ' Put away the cards, girls, 5 cried my lady, in a great tremor; 'put 
down Mr. Crawley's books, Miss Sharp : ' and these orders had been 
scarcely obeyed, when Mr. Crawley entered the room. 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 71 



" ' We will resume yesterday's discourse, young ladies/ said he, ' and 
yon shall each read a page by turns ; so that Mass a — Miss Short may 
have an opportunity of healing you ; ' and the poor girls began to spell a 
long dismal sermon delivered at Bethesda Chapel, Liverpool, in behalf of 
the mission for the Chickasaw Indians. Was it not a charming evening ? 

" At ten the servants were told to call Sir Pitt and the household to 
prayers. Sir Pitt came in first, very much flushed, and rather unsteady in 
Iris gait ; and after him the butler, the canaries, Mr. Crawley's man, three 
other men, smelling very much of the stable, and four women, one of whom, 
I remarked, was very much over-dressed, and who flung me a look of great 
scorn as she plumped down on her knees. 

After Mr. Crawley had done haranguing and expounding, we received 
our candles, and then we went to bed ; and then I was disturbed in my 
writing, as I have described to my dearest sweetest Ameba. 

" ' Good night. A thousand thousand thousand kisses ! ' " 

" Saturday. — This morning, at five, I heard the shrieking of the little 
black pig. Eose and Violet introduced me to it yesterday ; and to the 
stables, and to the kennel, and to the gardener, who was picking fruit to 
send to market, and from whom they begged hard a bunch of hot-house 
grapes ; but he said that Sir Pitt had numbered every " Man Jack" of 
them, and it would be as much as his place was worth to give any away. 
The darling girls caught a colt in a paddock, and asked me if I would ride, 
and began to ride themselves, when the groorn, coming with horrid oaths, 
drove them away. 

" Lady Crawley is always knitting the worsted. Sir Pitt is always tipsy, 
■every night ; and, I believe, sits with Horrocks, the butler. Mr. Crawley 
always reads sermons in the evening ; and in the morning is locked up in 
his study, or else rides to Mudbnry, on county business, or to Squashmore, 
where he preaches, on Wednesdays and Fridays, to the tenants there. 

" A hundred thousand grateful loves to your dear papa and mamma. Is 
your poor brother recovered of his rack-punch ? Oh, dear ! Oh, dear ! 
How men should beware of wicked punch ! 

" Ever and ever thine own, 

"Eebecca." 



Everything considered, I think it is cmite as well for our dear Ameba 
Sedley, in Piussell Square, that Miss Sharp and she are parted. Eebecca 
is a droll funny creature, to be sure : and those descriptions of the poor 
lady weeping for the loss of her beauty, and the gentleman "with hay- 
coloured whiskers and straw-coloured hair," are very smart, doubtless, and 
show a great knowledge of the world. That she might, when on her 
knees, have been thinking of something better than Miss Horrocks's 
ribbons, has possibly struck both of us. But my kind reader will please 
to remember that these histories in their gaudy yellow covers have 
" Vanity Pair " for a title, and that Vanity Pan- is a very vain, wicked, 
foobsh place, full of all sorts of humbugs and falsenesses and pretensions. 
And while the moralist, who is holding forth on the cover (an accurate 
portrait of your humble servant), professes to wear neither gown nor 



72 VANITY FA1K. 



bands, but only the very same long-eared livery in which his congregation 
is arrayed : yet, look you, one is bound to speak the truth as far as one 
knows it, whether one mounts a cap and bells or a shovel-hat ; and a 
deal of disagreeable matter must come out in the course of such an under- 
taking. 

I have heard a brother of the story-telling trade, at Naples, preaching 
to a pack of good-for-nothing honest lazy fellows by the sea-shore, work 
himself up into such a rage and passion with some of the villains whose 
wicked deeds he was describing and inventing, that the audience could not 
resist it ; and they and the poet together would burst out into a roar of 
oaths and execrations against the fictitious monster of the tale, so that the 
hat went round, and the bajocchi tumbled into it, in the midst of a perfect 
storm of sympathy. 

At the little Paris theatres, on the other hand, you will not only hear 
the people yelling out " Ah gredhi I Ah monstre ! " and cursing the tyrant 
of the play from the boxes ; but the actors themselves positively refuse to 
play the wicked parts, such as those of infantes Anglais, brutal Cossacks, and 
what not, and prefer to appear at a smaller salary, in their real characters as 
loyal Frenchmen. I set the two stories one against the other, so that you 
may see that it is not from mere mercenary motives that the present 
performer is desirous to show up and trounce his villains ; but because he 
has a sincere hatred of them, which he cannot keep down, and which must 
find a vent in suitable abuse and bad language. 

I warn my "kyind friends," then, that I am going to tell a story of harrow- 
ing villany and complicated — but, as I trust, intensely interesting — crime. 
My rascals are no milk-and-water rascals, I promise you. When we come 
to the proper places we won't spare fine language — No, no ! But when 
we are going over the quiet country we must perforce be calm. A 
tempest in a slop-basin is absurd. We will reserve that sort of thing for 
the mighty ocean and the lonely midnight. The present Number will be 
very mild. Others But we will not anticipate those. 

And, as we bring our characters forward, I will ask leave, as a man and 
a brother, not only to introduce them, but occasionally to step down from 
the platform, and talk about them : if they are good and kindly, to love 
them and shake them by the hand : if they are silly, to laugh at them 
confidentially in the reader's sleeve : if they are wicked and heartless, to 
abuse them in the strongest terms which politeness admits of. 

Otherwise you might fancy it was I who was sneering at the practice of 
devotion, which Miss Sharp finds so ridiculous ; that it was T who laughed 
good humouredly at the reeling old Silenus of a baronet — whereas the 
laughter comes from one who has no reverence except for prosperity, and 
no eye for anything beyond success. Such people there are living and 
flourishing in the world — Faithless, Hopeless, Charityless : let us have at 
them, dear friends, with might and main. Some there are, and very suc- 
cessful too, mere quacks and fools : and it was to combat and expose such 
as those, no doubt, that Laughter was made. 




CHAPTER IX. 

FAMILY PORTRAITS. 

IE Pitt Crawley mm a philosopher with a taste 
for what is called low life. His first mar- 
riage with the daughter of the noble Binkie 
had been made under the auspices of his 
parents ; and as he often told Lady Crawley 
in her life-time she was such a confounded 
quarrelsome high-bred jade that when she died 
he was hanged if he would ever take another 
of her sort at her ladyship's demise, he kept 
his promise, and selected for a second wife 
Miss Eose Dawson, daughter of Mr. John 
Thomas Dawson, ironmonger, of Mndbury. 
., <-_ AYhat a happy woman was Eose to be my 
~ Lady Crawley ! 

Let us set down the items "of her happiness. In the first place, she 
o-avc up Peter Butt, a young man who kept company with her, and m 
consequence of his disappointment in love, took to smuggling, poaching, 
and a thousand other bad courses. Then she quarrelled, as m duty boimd, 
mill all the friends and intimates of her youth, who, of course, coidd not 
be received bv mv Lady at Queen's Crawley — nor did she find m her new 
rank and abode anv persons who were willing to welcome her. \Yho ever 
did ? Sir Huddleston Fuddleston had three daughters who all hoped to 
be Ladv Crawley. Sir Giles TVapshot's family were insulted that one of 
the Wapshot girls had not the preference in the marriage, and the remain- 
ing baronets of the county were indignant at their comrade's misalliance- 
Xever mind the commoners, whom we will leave to grumble anonymously. 
Sir Pitt did not care, as he said, a brass farden for any one of them. 
He had his prettvBose, and what more need a man require than to please 
himself? So he'used to get drunk every night : to beat his pretty Eose 
sometimes : to leave her in Hampshire when he went to London for the 
parliamentary session, without a single friend in the wide world. Even 
Mrs. Bute Crawley, the rector's wife, refused to visit her, as she said she 
woidd never give the pas to a tradesman's daughter. 

As the onlv endowments with which Nature had gifted Lady Crawley 
were those of 'pink cheeks and a white skin, and as she had no sort of 
character, nor talents, nor opinions, nor occupations, nor amusements, nor 
that vigour of soul and ferocity of temper which often falls to the lot ot 
entirely foolish women, her hold upon Sir Pitt's affections was not very 
great. " Her roses faded out of her cheeks, and the pretty freshness lett 
her figure after the birth of a couple of children, and she became a mere 



74 VANITY FAIE. 



machine in her husband's house, of no more use than the late Lady 
Crawley's grand piano. Being a light-conrplexioned woman, she wore 
light clothes, as most blondes will, and appeared, in preference, in draggled 
sea-green, or slatternly sky-blue. She worked that worsted day and night, 
or other pieces Like it. She had counterpanes in the course of a few years 
to all the beds in Crawley. She had a small flower-garden, for which she had 
rather an affection ; but beyond this no other like or disliking. "When her 
husband was rude to her she was apathetic : whenever he struck her she 
cried. She had not character enough to take to drinking, and moaned 
about slip-shod and in curl-papers all day. O, Vanity Pair — Vanity Fair! 
This might have been, but for you, a cheery lass : — Peter Butt and Bose a 
happy man and wife, in a snug farm, with a hearty family ; and an honest 
portion of pleasures, cares, hopes, and straggles. But a title and a coach 
and four are toys more precious than happiness in Vanity Pair : and if 
Harry the Eighth or Bluebeard were alive now, and wanted a tenth wife, 
do you suppose he could not get the prettiest girl that shall be presented 
this season ? 

The languid dullness of their mamma did not, as it may be supposed, 
awaken much affection in her little daughters, but they were very happy in 
the servants' hall and in the stables ; and the Scotch gardener having luckily 
a good wife and some good children, they got a little wholesome society 
and instruction in Ms lodge, which was the only education bestowed upon 
them until Miss Sharp came. 

Her engagement was owing to the remonstrances of Mr. Pitt Crawley, 
the only friend or protector Lady Crawley ever had, and the only person, 
besides her children, for whom she entertained a little feeble attachment. 
Mr. Pitt took after the noble Binkies, from whom he was descended, and 
was a very polite and proper gentleman. When he grew to man's estate, 
and came back from Christchurch, he began to reform the slackened disci- 
pline of the hall, in spite of his father, who stood in awe of him. He was 
a man of such rigid refinement, that he would have starved rather than 
have dined without a white neck-cloth. Once, when just from college, and 
when Horrocks the butler brought him a letter without placing it previ- 
ously on a tray, he gave that domestic a look, and administered to him a 
speech so cutting, that Horrocks ever after trembled before him : the whole 
household bowed to him : Lady Crawley's curl-papers came off earlier 
when he was at home : Sir Pitt's muddy gaiters disappeared ; and if that 
incorrigible old man still adhered to other old habits, he never fuddled 
himself with rum and water in his son's presence, and only talked to his 
servants in a very reserved and polite manner ; and those persons remarked 
that Sir Pitt never swore at Lady Crawley while his son was in the room. 

It was he who taught the butler to say " My lady is served," and who 
insisted on handing her ladyship into dinner. He seldom spoke to her, 
but when he did it was with the most powerful respect ; and he never let 
her quit the apartment, without rising in the most stately manner to open 
the door, and making an elegant bow at her egress. 

At Eton he was called Miss Crawley ; and there, I am sorry to say, his 
younger brother Bawdon used to lick him violently. But though his parts 
were not brilliant, he made up for his lack of talent by meritorious industry, 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 75 



and was never known, during eight years at school, to be subject to that 
punishment, which it is generally thought none but a cherub can escape. 

At college his career was of course highly creditable. And here he pre- 
pared himself for public life, into which he was to be introduced by the patron- 
age of his grandfather, Lord Binkie, by studying the ancient and modern 
orators with great assiduity, and by speaking unceasingly at the debating 
societies. But though he had a fine flux of words, and delivered his little 
voice with great pomposity and pleasure to himself, and never advanced 
any sentiment or opinion which was not perfectly trite and stale, and sup- 
ported by a Latin quotation ; yet he faded somehow, in spite of a medi- 
ocrity which ought to have insured any man a success. He did not even 
get the prize poem, which all, his friends said he was sure of. 

After leaving college he became Private Secretary to Lord Binkie, and 
was then appointed Attache to the Legation at Pumpernickel, which post 
he filled with perfect honour, and brought home despatches, consisting of 
Strasburg pie, to the Foreign Minister of the day. After remaining ten 
years Attache (several years after the lamented Lord Binkie's demise), and 
finding the advancement slow, he at length gave up the diplomatic service 
in some disgust, and began to turn country gentleman. 

He wrote a pamphlet on Malt on returning to England (for he was 
an ambitious man, and always liked to be before the public), and took a 
strong part in the Negro Emancipation question. Then he became a 
friend of Mr. Wilberforce's, whose politics he admired, and had that 
famous correspondence with the Keverend Silas Homblower, on the 
Ashantee Mission. He was in London, if not for the Parliament session, 
at least in May, for the religious meetings. In the country he was a 
magistrate, and an active visitor and speaker among those destitute 
of religious instruction. He was said to be paying his addresses to Lady 
Jane Sheepshanks, Lord Muttondown's third daughter, and whose sister, 
Lady Emily, wrote those sweet tracts, "The Sailor's True Binnacle," and 
" The Applewoman of Einchley Common." 

Miss Sharp's account of his employment at Queen's Crawley were not 
caricatures. He subjected the servants there to the devotional exercises 
before mentioned, in which (and so much the better) he brought his father 
to join. He patronised an Independent meeting-house in Crawley parish, 
much to the indignation of his uncle the rector, and to the consequent 
delight of Sir Pitt, who was induced to go himself once or twice, which 
occasioned some violent sermons at Crawley parish church, directed point- 
blank at the Baronet's old gothic pew there. Honest Sir Pitt, however, 
did not feel the force of these discourses, as he always took his nap during 
sermon-time. 

Mr. Crawley was very earnest, for the good of the nation and of the 
Christian world, that the old gentleman should yield him up his place in 
Parliament ; but this the elder constantly refused to do. Both were of 
course too prudent to give up the fifteen hundred a year which was 
brought in by the second seat (at this period filled by Mr. Quadroon, 
with carte-blanche on the Slave question) ; indeed the family estate was 
much embarrassed, and the income drawn from the borough was of great 
use to the house of Queen's Crawlev. 



76 VANITY FAIR. 



It had never recovered the heavy hue imposed upon Walpole Crawley, 
first baronet, for peculation in the Tape and Sealing Wax Office. Sir 
Walpole was a jolly fellow, eager to seize and to spend money ("alieni 
appetens, sui profusus," as Mr. Crawley would remark with a sigh), and in 
his day beloved by all the county for the constant drunkenness and hospi- 
tality which was maintained at Queen's Crawley. The cellars were filled 
with burgundy then, the kennels with hounds, and the stables with gallant 
hunters ; now, such horses as Queen's Crawley possessed went to plough, 
or ran in the Trafalgar Coach ; and it was with a team of these very 
horses, on an off-day, that Miss Sharp was brought to the Hall ; for, boor 
as he was, Sir Pitt was a stickler for his dignity while at home, and seldom 
drove out but with four horses, and, though he dined off boiled mutton, 
had always three footmen to serve it. 

If mere parsimony would have made a man rich, Sir Pitt Crawley might 
have become very wealthy — if he had been an attorney in a country town, 
with no capital but his brains, it is very possible that he would have 
turned them to good account, and might have achieved for himself a very 
considerable influence and competency. But he was unluckily endowed 
with a good name and a large though encumbered estate, both of which ' 
went rather to injure than to advance him. He had a taste for law, 
which cost him many thousands yearly ; and being a great deal too clever 
to be robbed, as he said, by any single agent, allowed his affairs to 
be mismanaged by a dozen, whom he all equally mistrusted. He was 
such a sharp landlord, that he could hardly find any but bankrupt 
tenants ; ancl such a close farmer, as to grudge almost the seed to the 
ground, whereupon revengeful Nature grudged him the crops which she 
granted to more liberal husbandmen. He speculated in every possible 
way; he worked mines; bought canal-shares; horsed coaches; took 
government contracts, and was the busiest man and magistrate of his 
county. As he would not pay honest agents at his granite-quarry, he had 
the satisfaction of finding that four overseers ran away, and took fortunes 
with them to America. For want of proper precautions, his coal-mines 
filled with water : the government flung his contract of damaged beef upon 
his hands : and for his coach-horses, every mail proprietor in the kingdom 
knew that he lost more horses than any man in the country, from under- 
feeding and buying cheap. In disposition he was sociable, and far from 
being proud ; nay, he rather preferred the society of a farmer or a horse- 
dealer to that of a gentleman, like my Lord, his son : he was fond 
of drink, of swearing, of joking with the farmers' daughters : he was never 
known to give away a shilling or to do a good action, but was of a 
pleasant, sly, laughing mood, and would cut his joke and drink his glass 
with a tenant and sell him up the next day ; or have his laugh with the 
poacher he was transporting with equal good humour. His politeness for 
the fair sex has already been hinted at by Miss Rebecca Sharp — in a word, 
the whole baronetage, peerage, commonage of England, did not contain a 
more cunning, mean, selfish, foolish, disreputable old man. That blood- 
red hand of Sir Pitt Crawley's would be in anybody's pocket except his 
own ; and it is with grief and pain, that, as admirers of the British 
aristocracy, we find ourselves obliged to admit the existence of so many ill 
qualities in a person whose name is in Debrett. 



A 2J0VEL WITHOUT A HERO. 77 

One great cause why Mr. Crawley had such a hold over the affections 
of his father, resulted from money arrangements. The Baronet owed his 
son a sum of money out of the jointure of his mother, which he did not 
find it convenient to pay ; indeed he had an almost invincible repugnance 
to paying anybody, and could only be brought by force to discharge his 
debts. Miss Sharp calculated (for she became, as we shall hear speedily, 
inducted into most of the secrets of the family) that the mere payment of 
his creditors cost the honourable baronet several hundreds yearly; but 
this was a delight he could not forego ; he had a savage pleasure in making 
the poor wretches wait, and in shifting from court to court and from term 
to term the period of satisfaction. What's the good of being in Parliament, 
he said, if you must pay your debts ? Hence, indeed, his position as a 
senator was not a little useful to him. 

Vanity Fan — Vanity Fair ! Here was a man, who could not spell, and 
did not care to read — who had the habits and the cunning of a boor : whose 
aim in life was pettifogging : who never had a taste, or emotion, or enjoy- 
ment, but what was sordid and foul ; and yet he had rank, and honours, 
and power, somehow : and was a dignitary of the land, and a pillar of the 
state. He was high sheriff, and rode in a golden coach. Great ministers 
and statesmen courted him ; and in Vanity Fair he had a higher place than 
the most brilliant genius- or spotless virtue. 

Sir Pitt had an unmarried half-sister who inherited her mother's large for- 
tune, and though the Baronet proposed to borrow this money of her on mort- 
gage, Miss Crawley declined the offer, and preferred the security of the funds. 
She had signified, however, her intention of leaving her fortune equally 
between Sir Pitt's second son and the family at the rectoiy, and had once 
or twice paid the debts of Piawdon Crawlev in his career at college and 
in the army. Miss Crawley was, in consequence, an object of great respect 
when she came to Queen's Crawley, for she had a balance at her banker's 
which woidd have made her beloved anywhere. 

What a dignity it gives an old lady, that balance at the banker's ! How 
tenderly we look at her faults if she is a relative (and may every reader 
have a score of such), what a kind good-natured old creature we find her ! 
How the junior partner of Hobbs and Dobbs leads her s mili ng to the 
carriage with the lozenge upon it, and the fat wheezy coachman ! How, 
when she comes to pay us a visit, we generally find an opportunity to let 
our friends know her station in the world ! We say (and with perfect 
truth) I wish I had Miss MacWhirter's signature to a cheque for five 
thousand pounds. She wouldn't miss it, says your wife. She is my aunt, 
say you, in an easy careless way, when your friend asks if Miss MacWhirter 
is any relative ? Your wife is perpetually sending her little testimonies of 
affection, your little girls work endless worsted baskets, cushions, and foot- 
stools for her. What a good fire there is in her room when she comes to 
pay you a visit, although your wife laces her stays without one ! The 
house during her stay assumes a festive, neat, warm, jovial, snug appearance 
not visible at other seasons. You yourself, dear sir, forget to go to sleep 
after dinner, and find yourself all of a sudden (though you invariably lose) 
very fond of a rubber. What good dinners you have — game every day, 



78 



VANITY FAIE. 



Malmsey -Madeira, and no end of fish from London. Even the servants 
in the kitchen share in the general prosperity ; and, somehow, during the 
stay of Miss MacWhirter's fat coachman, the beer is grown much stronger, 
and the consumption of tea and sugar in the nursery (where her maid takes 
her meals) is not regarded in the least. Is it so, or is it not so ? I appeal 
to the middle classes. Ah, gracious powers ! I wish you would send me an 
old aunt — a maiden aunt — an aunt with a lozenge on her carnage, and a 
front of light coffee-coloured hair — how my children should work work- 
bags for her, and my Julia and I woidd make her comfortable ! Sweet — 
sweet vision ! Foolish — foolish dream ! 




CHAPTER X. 

JIISS SHAEP BEGINS TO MAKE FRIENDS. 

ND now, being received as a member of the amiable 
family whose portraits we hare sketched in the fore- 
going pages, it became naturally Eebecca's duty to 
make herself, as she said, agreeable to her benefac- 
tors, and to gain their confidence to the utmost of 
her power. Who can but adrnire this quality of 
gratitude in an unprotected orphan ; and, if there 
entered some degree of selfishness into her calcula- 
tions, who can say but that her prudence was perfectly 
justifiable ? "lam alone in the world," said the 
friendless girl. " I have nothing to look for but 
what my own labour can bring me ; and while that 
little pink-faced chit Amelia, with not half rny sense,, 
has ten thousand pounds and an establishment 
secure, poor Eebecca (and my figure is far better 
than her's) has onlv herself and her own wits to 
trust to. Well, let us see if my wits cannot provide 
me with an honourable maintenance, and if some day 
or the other I cannot show Miss Amelia my real 
superiority over her. Xot that I dislike poor 
Amelia : who can dislike such a harmless, good- 
natured creature ? — only it will be a fine day when 
I can take my place above her in the world, as why r 
indeed, should I not : " Thus it was that om- little 
romantic friend formed visions of the future for her- 
self, — nor must we be scandalised, that in all her castles in the air, a 
husband was the principal inhabitant. Of what else have young ladies 
to think, but husbands ? Of ^vhat else do their dear mammas think ? 
" I must be my own mamma," said Rebecca; not without a tinojlinsr con- 
sciousness of defeat, as she thought over her little misadventure with Jos 
Sidley. 

So she wisely determined to render her position with the Queen's 
Crawley family comfortable and secure, and to this end resolved to make 
friends of every one around her who could at all interfere with her 
comfort. 

As my Lady Crawley was not one of these personages, and a woman, 
moreover, so indolent and void of character as not to be of the least conse- 
quence in her own house, Eebecca soon found that it was not at all necessary 
to cultivate her good will — indeed, impossible to gain it. She used to talk 
to her pupils about their " poor mamma ; " and, though she treated that 




80 VANITY PAIR. 



lady with every demonstration of cool respect, it was to the rest of the 
family that she wisely directed the chief part of her attentions. 

With the young people, whose applause she thoroughly gained, her 
method was pretty simple. She did not pester their young brains with too 
much learning, but, on the contrary, let them have their own way in regard 
to educating themselves ; for what instruction is more effectual than self- 
instruction ? The eldest was rather fond of books, and as there was in 
the old library at Queen's Crawley a considerable provision of works of 
light literature of the last century, both in the French and Engbsh 
languages (they had been purchased by the Secretary of the Tape and 
Sealing Wax Office at the period of Ids disgrace), and as nobody ever 
troubled the book-shelves but herself, Eebeccawas enabled agreeably, and, 
as it were, in playing, to impart a great deal of instruction to Miss Eose 
Crawley. 

She and Miss Eose thus read together many delightful French and 
English works, among which may be mentioned those of the learned Dr. 
Smollett, of the ingenious Mr. Henry Eielding, of the gracefid and fantastic 
Monsieur Crebillon the younger, whom our immortal poet Gray so much 
admired, and of the universal Monsieur de Voltaire. Once, when Mr. 
Crawley asked what the young people were reading, the governess replied 
" Smollett." " Oh, Smollett," said Mr. Crawley, quite satisfied. " His 
history is more dull, but by no means so dangerous as that of Mr. Hume. 
It is history you are reading ? " "Yes," said Miss Eose ; without how- 
ever, adding that it was the history of Mr. Humphrey Clinker. On 
another occasion he was rather scandalised at finding his sister with a 
book of French plays ; but as the governess remarked that it was for the 
purpose of acquiring the French idiom in conversation, he was fain to be 
content. Mr. Crawley, as a diplomatist, was exceedingly proud of his 
own skill in speaking the French language, (for he was of the world still), 
and not a little pleased with the compliments which the governess conti- 
nually paid him upon his proficiency. 

Miss Violet's tastes were, on the contrary, more rude and boisterous 
than those of her sister. She knew the sequestered spots where the hens 
layed their eggs. She could climb a tree to rob the nests of the feathered 
songsters of their speckled spoils. And her pleasure was to ride the 
young colts, and to scour the plains Uke Camilla. She was the favourite 
of her father and of the stable-men. She>was the darling, and withal the 
terror of the cook ; for she discovered the haunts of the jam-pots, and 
would attack them when they were within her reach. She and her sister 
were engaged in constant battles. Any of which peccadilloes, if Miss 
Sharp discovered, she did not tell them to Lady Crawley, who w'ordd have 
told them to the father, or, worse, to Mr. Crawley ; but promised not to 
tell if Miss Violet would be a good girl and love her governess. 

With Mr. Crawley Miss Sharp was respectful and obedient. She used 
to consult him on passages of French which she could not understand, 
though her mother was a Frenchwoman, and which he would construe to 
her satisfaction : and, besides giving her Ins aid in profane literature, he 
was kind enough to select for her books of a more serious tendency, and 
address to her much of his conversation. She admired, beyond measure, 




Art {A t/f. As? r c. 






i 



-i 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 81 

his speech at the Quashimaboo-Aid Society ; took an. interest in his 
pamphlet on malt ; was often affected, even to tears, by his discourses of 
an evening, and would say— "Oh, thank you, sir," with a sigh, and a 
look up to heaven, that made him occasionally condescend to shake hands 
with her. " Blood is everything, after all/' would that aristocratic 
religionist say. " How Miss Sharp is awakened by my words, when not 
one of the people here is touched. I am too fine for them — too delicate. 
I must familiarise my style — but she understands it. Her mother was a 
Montmorency." 

Indeed it was from this famous family, as it appears, that Miss Sharp, 
by the mother's side, was descended. Of course she did not say that her 
mother had been on the stage ; it would have shocked Mr. Crawley's 
religious scruples. How many noble emigrees had this horrid revolution 
plunged in poverty ! She had several stories about her ancestors ere she 
had been many months in the house ; some of which Mr. Crawley hap- 
pened to find in D'Hozier's dictionary, which was in the library, and 
which strengthened his belief in their truth, and in the high-breeding of 
Eebecca. Are we to suppose from this curiosity and prying into diction- 
aries, coidd our heroine suppose that Mr. Crawley was interested in her ? — 
no, only in a friendly way. Have we not stated that he was attached to 
Lady Jane Sheepshanks ? 

He took Eebecca to task once or twice about the propriety of playing at 
backgammon with Sh* Pitt, saying that it was a godless amusement, and 
that she would be much better engaged in reading "Thrump's Legacy," 
or " The Blind Washerwoman of Moorfields," or any work of a more 
serious nature ; but Miss Sharp said her dear mother used often to play 
the same game with the old Count de Trictrac and the venerable Abbe du 
Cornet, and so found an excuse for this and other worldly amusement. 

But it was not only by playing at backgammon with the Baronet, that 
the little governess rendered herself agreeable to her employer. She 
found many different ways of being useful to him. She read over, with 
indefatigable patience, all those law papers, with which, before she came to 
Queen's Crawley, he had promised to entertain her. She volunteered to 
copy many of his letters, and adroitly altered the spelling of them so as 
to suit the usages of the present day. She became interested in every- 
thing appertaining to the estate, to the farm, the park, the garden, and 
the stables ; and so delightful a companion was she, that the Baronet 
would seldom take his after-breakfast walk without her (and the children 
of course), when she would give her advice as to the trees which were to be 
lopped in the shrubberies, the garden-beds to be dug, the crops which 
were to be cut, the horses which were to go to cart or plough. Before 
she had been a year at Queen's Crawley she had quite won the Baronet's 
confidence ; and the conversation at the dinner-table, which before used to 
be held between him and Mr. Horrocks the butler, was now almost exclu- 
sively between Sir Pitt and Miss Sharp. She was almost mistress of the 
house when Mr. Crawley was absent, but conducted herself in her new and 
exalted situation with such circumspection and modesty as not to offend the 
authorities of the kitchen and stable, among whom her behaviour was 
always exceedingly modest and affable. She was quite a different person 

G 



82 YAXITY FAIR. 



from tlie haughty, shy, dissatisfied little girl whom we have known previ- 
ously, and tins change of temper proved great prudence, a sincere desire of 
amendment, or at any rate great moral coinage on her part. "Whether it 
was the heart which dictated this new system of complaisance and humility 
adopted by our Rebecca, is to be proved by her after-history. A system 
of hypocrisy, which lasts through whole years, is one seldom satisfactorily 
practised by a person of one-and-twenty ; however, our readers will recol- 
lect, that, though young in years, our heroine was old in life and experience, 
and we have written to no purpose if they have not discovered that she 
was a very clever woman. 

The elder and younger son of the house of Crawley were, like the gentle- 
man and lady in the weather-box, never at home together — : they hated each 
other cordially : indeed, Rawdon Crawley, the dragoon, had a great con- 
tempt for the establishment altogether, and seldom came thither except 
when his aimt paid her annual visit. 

The great good quality of this old lady has been mentioned. She pos- 
sessed seventy thousand pounds, and had almost adopted Rawdon. She 
disliked her elder nephew exceedingly, and despised him as a milksop. 
In return he did not hesitate to state that her soid was irretrievably lost, 
and was of opinion that his brother's chance in the next world was not a 
Avhit better. " She is a godless woman of the world," would Mr. Crawley 
say ; "she lives with atheists and Frenchmen. My mind shudders when I 
think of her awful, awful situation, and that, near as she is to the grave, she 
should be so given up to vanity, licentiousness, profaneness, and folly." In 
fact, the old lady declined altogether to hear his hour's lecture of an even- 
ing ; and when she came to Queen's Crawley alone, he was obliged to 
pretermit his usual devotional exercises. 

" Shut up your sarmons, Pitt, when Miss Crawley comes down," said 
his father ; " she has written to say that she won't stand the preachifying." 

" O, sir ! consider the servants." 

" The servants be hanged," said Sir Pitt ; and his son thought even 
worse woidd happen were they deprived of the benefit of his instruction. 

"Why, hang it, Pitt!" said the father to his remonstrance. "You 
wouldn't be such a flat as to let three thousand a vear go out of the 
family ? " 

"What is money compared to our souls, sir?" continued Crawley. 

"You mean that the old lady won't leave the money to you?" — and 
who knows but it was Mi*. Crawley's meaning ? 

Old Miss Crawley was certainly one of the reprobate. She had a snug 
little house in Park Lane, and, as she ate and drank a great deal too much 
during the season in London, she went to Harrowgate or Cheltenham for 
the summer. She was the most hospitable and jovial of old vestals, and 
had been a beauty in her day, she said. (All old women were beauties once 
we very well know.) She was a bel esprit, and a dreadful Radical for 
those days. She had been in Prance (where St. Just, they say, inspired 
her with an unfortunate passion), and loved, ever after, French novels, 
Prench cookery, and French wines. She read Voltaire, and had Rousseau 
by heart ; talked very lightly about divorce, and most energetically of the 
rights of women. She had pictures of Mr. Fox in every room in the 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 83 

house : when that statesman was in opposition, I am not sure that she 
had not flung a main with him ; and when he came into office, she took 
great credit for bringing over to him Sir Pitt and his colleague for Queen's 
Crawley, although Sir Pitt would have come over himself, without any- 
trouble on the honest lady's part. It is needless to say that Sir Pitt was 
brought to change his views after the death of the great Whig statesman. 

This worthy old lady took a fancy to Eawdon Crawley when a boy, 
sent him to Cambridge (in opposition to his brother at Oxford), and, when 
the young man was requested by the authorities of the first-named Univer- 
sity to quit after a residence of two years, she bought him his commissions 
as Cornet and Lieutenant Crawley. 

A perfect and celebrated "blood," or dandy about town, was this 
young officer. Boxing, rat-hunting, the fives' court, and four-in-hand 
driving were then the fashion of our British aristocracy ; and he Avas an 
adept in all these noble sciences. And though he belonged to the house- 
hold troops, who, as it was their duty to rally round the Prince Begent, 
had not shown their valour in foreign service yet, Kawdon Crawley had 
already {apropos of play, of which he was immoderately fond) fought three 
bloody duels, in which he gave ample proofs of his contempt for death. 

" And for what follows after death," would Mr. Crawley observe, 
throwing his gooseberry-coloured eyes up to the ceiling. He was always 
thinking of his brother's soul, or of the souls of those who differed with 
him in opinion : it is a sort of comfort which many of the serious give 
themselves. 

Silly, romantic Miss Crawley, far from being horrified at the courage 
of her favourite, always used to pay his debts after his duels ; and would 
not listen to a word that was whispered against his morality. " He will 
sow his wild-oats," she would say, " and is worth far more than that puling 
hypocrite of a brother of his." 



o2 



CHAPTER XI. 




ARCADIAN SIMPLICITY. 

e sides these honest folks 
at the Hall, (whose 
simplicity and sweet 
rural parity surely show 
the advantage of a 
country life over a 
town one ;) we must 
introduce the reader 
to their relatives and 
neighboms at the Eec- 
tory, Bute Crawley and 
his wife. 

The Eeverend Bute 
Crawley was a tall, 
stately, jolly, shovel- 
hatted man, far more 
popular in his county than the Baronet his brother. At college he pulled 
stroke-oar in the Christchurch boat, and had thrashed all the best bruisers 
of the " town." He earned his taste for boxing and athletic exercises 
into private life : there was not a fight within twenty miles at which he 
was not present, nor a race, nor a coursing match, nor a regatta, nor 
a ball, nor an election, nor a visitation dinner, nor indeed a good dinner 
in the whole county, but he found means to attend it. You might see 
his bay-mare and gig-lamps a score of miles away from his Bectory House, 
whenever there was any dinnerparty at Fuddleston, or at Boxby, or at 
TTapshot Hall, or at the great lords of the county, with all of whom he 
was intimate. He had a fine voice ; sang " A southerly wind and a cloudy 
sky; " and gave the "whoop " in chorus with general applause. He rode 
to hounds in a pepper-and-salt frock, and was one of the best fishermen 
in the county. 

Mrs. Crawley, the rector's wife, was a smart little body, who wrote this 
worthy divine's sermons. Being of a domestic turn, and keeping the 
house a great deal with her daughters, she ruled absolutely within the 
rectory, wisely giving her husband full liberty without. He w-as welcome 
to come and go, and dine abroad as many days as his fancy dictated, for 
Mrs. Crawley was a saving woman and knew the price of port wine. 
Ever since Mrs. Bute carried off the young rector of Queen's Crawley (she 
was of a good family, daughter of the late Lieut. -Colonel Hector MacTavish, 
and she and her mother played for Bute and w 7 on him at Harrogate), she 
had been a prudent and thrifty wife to him. In spite of her care, how T - 
ever, he was always in debt. It took him at least ten years to pay off 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 85 

his college bills contracted during his father's life time. In the year 179 — , 
when he was just clear of these incumbrances, he gave the odds of 
100 to 1 (in twenties) against Kangaroo, who won the Derby. The 
rector was obliged to take up the money at a ruinous interest, and had 
been struggling ever since. His sister helped him with a hundred now 
and then, but of course his great hope was in her death — when ' hang 
it ' (as he woidd say), ' Matilda must leave me half her money.' 

So that the Baronet and his brother had every reason which two 
brothers possibly can have for being by the ears. Sir Pitt had had the 
better of Bute in innumerable family transactions. Young Pitt not only 
did not hunt ; but set up a meeting-house under his uncle's very nose. 
Kawdon, it was known, was to come in for the bvdk of Miss Crawley's 
properly. These money transactions — these speculations in life and 
death — these silent battles for reversionary spoil — make brothers very 
loving towards each other in Vanity Fair. I, for my part, have known 
a five-pound-note to interpose and knock up a half century's attachment 
between two brethren ; and can't but admire, as I think what a line and 
durable thing Love is among worldly people. 

It cannot be supposed that the arrival of such a personage as Eebecca 
at Queen's Crawley, and her gradual establishment in the good graces of 
all people there, could be unremarked by Mrs. Bute Crawley. Mrs. Bute, 
who knew how many days the sirloin of beef lasted at the Hall; how 
much linen was got ready at the great wash ; how many peaches were on 
the south wall ; how many doses her ladyship took when she was ill — for 
such points are matters of intense interest to certain persons in the 
country — Mrs. Bute, I say, coidd not pass over the Hall governess 
without making every inquiry respecting her history and character. There 
was always the best understanding between the servants at the Rectory 
and the Hall. There was always a good glass of ale in the kitchen of the 
former place for the Hall people, whose ordinary drink was very small — 
and, indeed, the Sector's lady knew exactly how much malt went to every 
barrel of Hall beer — ties of relationship existed between the Hall and 
Bectory domestics, as between then masters ; and through these 'channels 
each family was perfectly well acquainted with the doings of the other. 
That, by the way, may be set down as a general remark. When you and 
your brother are friends, his doings are indifferent to you. When you 
have quarrelled, all his outgoings and incomings you know, as if you 
were his spy. 

Very soon then after her arrival, Eebecca began to take a regular place hi 
Mrs. Crawley's bulletin from the Hall. It was to this effect : — "The black 
porker's killed — weighed x stone — salted the sides — pig's pudding and 
leg of pork for dinner. Mr. Cramp, from Mudbury, over with Sir Pitt 
about putting John Blackmore in gaol — Mr. Pitt at meeting (with all the 
names of the people who attended) — my lady as usual — the young ladies 
with the governess." 

Then the report would come— the new governess be a rare manager — 
Sir Pitt be very sweet on her — Mr. Crawley too — He be reading tracts to 
her — "What an abandoned wretch!" said little, eager, active, black-faced 
Mrs. Bute Crawley. 



86 VANITY FAIE. 



Finally, the reports were that the governess had " come round" 
everybody, wrote Sir Pitt's letters, did his business, managed his 
accounts — had the upper hand of the whole house, my lady, Mr. Crawley, 
the gtils and all — at which Mrs. Crawley declared she was an artful 
hussey, and had some dreadful designs in view. Thus the doings at the 
Hall were the great food for conversation at the Rectory, and Mrs. Bute's 
bright eyes spied out everything that took place in the enemy's camp — 
everything and a great deal besides. 

" MRS. BUTE CRAWLEY TO MISS PINKERTON, THE MALL, CHISWICK. 

" Rectory, Queen's Craicley, December — . 

"My dear Madam, — Although it is so many years since I profited by 
your delightful and invaluable instructions, yet I have ever retained the 
fondest and most reverential regard for Miss Pinkerton and dear Chiswick. 
I hope your health is good. The world and the cause of education cannot . 
afford to lose Miss Pinkerton for many many years. When my friend, 
Lady Puddleston, mentioned that her dear girls required an instructress 
(I am too poor to engage a governess for mine, but was I not educated at 
Chiswick?) — 'Who,' I exclaimed, 'can we consult but the excellent, the 
incomparable Miss Pinkerton ?' In a Avord, have you, dear madam, any 
ladies on your list, whose services might be made avadable to my kind 
friend and neighbour? I assure you she will take no governess but of your 
choosing. 

" My dear husband is pleased to say that he likes everything which 
comes from Miss PinJcerton's school. How I wish I coidd present him 
and my beloved girls to the friend of my youth, and the admired of the 
great lexicographer of our country ! If you ever travel into Hampshire, 
Mr. Crawley begs me to say, he hopes you will adorn our rural rectory 
with your presence. 'Tis the humble, but happy home of 

" Your affectionate 

"Martha Crawley." 

"P.S. Mr. Crawley's brother, the baronet, with whom we are not, 
alas ! upon those terms of unity in which it becomes brethren to dioell, has 
a governess for his little girls, who, I am told, had the good fortune to be 
educated at Chiswick. I hear various reports of her ; and as I have the 
tenderest interest in my dearest little nieces, whom I wish, in spite of 
family differences, to see among my own children — and as I long to be 
attentive to any pupil of yours — do, my dear Miss Pinkerton, tell me the 
history of this young, lady, whom, for your sake, I am most anxious to 
befriend.— M. C." 

" MISS PINKERTON TO MRS. BUTE CRAWLEY. 

" Johison House, CJiiswicl; Dec. 18 — . 
" Dear Madam, — I have the honor to acknowledge your polite com- 
munication, to which I promptly reply. 'Tis most gratifying to one in 
my most arduous position to find that my maternal cares have elicited a 
responsive affection ; and to recognize in the amiable Mrs. Bute Crawley 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 87 

my excellent pupil of former years, the sprightly and accomplished Miss 
Martha MacTavisli. I am happy to have under my charge now, the 
daughters of many of those who were your contemporaries at my esta- 
blishment — what pleasure it would give me if your own beloved young 
ladies had need of my instructive superintendence ! 

" Presenting my respectful compliments to Lady Fuddleston, I have 
the honour (epistolarily) to introduce to her ladyship my two friends, Miss 
Tuffin and INliss Hawky. 

" Either of these young ladies is perfectly qualified to instruct in Greek, 
Latin, and the rudiments of Hebrew ; in mathematics and history ; in 
Spanish, Trench, Itaban, and geography; in music, vocal and instru- 
mental ; in dancing, without the aid of a master ; and in the elements of 
natural sciences. In the use of the globes both are proficients. In 
addition to these, Miss Tuffin, who is daughter of the late Eeverend 
Thomas Tuffin, (Fellow of Corpus College, Cambridge,) can instruct in the 
Svriac language, and the elements of Constitutional law. But as she is 
only eighteen years of age, and of exceedingly pleasmg personal appearance, 
perhaps this young lady may be objectionable in Sir Huddleston Puddle- 
ston's family. 

" Miss Letitia Hawky, on the other hand, is not personally well-favoured. 
She is twenty-nine ; her face is much pitted with the small-pox. She has 
a halt in her gait, red hair, and a trifling obliquity of vision. Both 
ladies are endowed with every moral and religious virtue. Their terms, of 
course, are such as their accomplishments merit. With my most grateful 
respects to the Eeverend Bute Crawley, I have the honour to be, 

" Dear Madam, 
" Your most faithful and obedient servant, 

" Barbara. Pixkertox." 

" P.S. The Miss Sharp, whom you mention as governess to Sir Pitt 
Crawley, Bart., M.P., was a pupil of mine, and I have .nothing to say in 
her disfavour. Though her appearance is disagreeable, we cannot control 
the operations of nature : and though her parents were disreputable (her 
father being a painter, several times bankrupt ; and her mother, as I have 
since learned, with horror, a dancer at the Opera); yet her talents are con- 
siderable, and I cannot regret that I received her out of charity. My 
dread is, lest the principles of the mother — who was represented to me as 
a Trench Countess, forced to emigrate in the late revolutionary horrors ; 
but who, as I have since found, was a person of the very lowest order and 
morals — shoidd at any time prove to be hereditary in the unhappy young 
woman whom I took as an outcast. But her principles have hitherto been 
correct (I believe), and I am sure nothing will occur to injure them in the 
elegant and refined cuxle of the eminent Sir Pitt Crawley." 

" HISS REBECCA SHARP TO MISS AMELIA SEDLEY. 

" I have not written to my beloved Amelia for these many weeks past, 
for what news was there to tell of the sayings and doings at Humdrum 
Hall, as I have christened it ; and what do you care whether the turnip 
crop is good or bad; whether the fat pig weighed thirteen stone or fourteen; 



88 VANITY PAIE. 



and whether the beasts thrive well upon rnangelwurzel? Every day since 
I last wrote has been like its neighbour. Before breakfast, a walk with Sir 
Pitt and his spud ; after breakfast, studies (such as they are) in the 
school-room ; after school-room, reading and writing about lawyers, leases, 
coal-mines, canals, with Sir Pitt (whose secretary I am become) ; after 
dinner, Mx. Crawley discourses or the baronet's backgammon ; during both 
of which amusements my lady looks on with equal placidity. She has 
become rather more interesting by being ailing of late, which has brought 
a new visitor to the Hall, in the person of a young doctor. "Well, my 
dear, young women need never despair. The young doctor gave a certain 
friend of yours to understand that, if she chose to be Mrs. Glauber, she 
was welcome to ornament the surgery ! I told his impudence that the 
gilt pestle and mortar was quite ornament enough ; as if I was born, 
indeed, to be a country surgeon's wife. Mr. Glauber went home serisusly 
indisposed at his rebuff, took a cooling draught, and is now quite cured. 
Sir Pitt applauded my resolution highly ; he would be sorry to lose his 
little secretary, I think ; and I believe the old wretch likes me as much as 
it is in his nature to like any one. Marry, indeed ! and with a country 

apothecary, after No, no, one cannot so soon forget old associations, 

about which I will talk no more. Let us return to Humdrum Hall. 

" For some time past it is Humdrum Hall no longer. My dear, Miss 
Crawley has arrived with her fat horses, fat servants, fat spaniel — the 
great rich Miss Crawley, with seventy thousand pounds in the five per 
cents., whom, or I had better say tchich, her two brothers adore. She 
looks very apoplectic, the dear soul ; no wonder her brothers are anxious 
about her. You should see them struggling to settle her cushions, or to 
hand her coffee ! ' When I come into the country,' she says (for she has a 
great deal of humour), ' I leave my toady, Miss Briggs, at home. My 
brothers are my toadies here, my dear, and a pretty pair they are ! ' 

" When she comes into the country our Hall is thrown open, and for a 
month, at least, you would fancy old Sir Walpole was come to hfe again. 
We have dinner-parties, and drive out in the coach-and-fonr — the foot- 
men put on their newest canary-coloured liveries; we drink claret and 
champagne as if we were accustomed to it every day. We have wax 
candles in the school-room, and fires to warm ourselves Math. Lady 
Crawley is made to put on the brightest pea-green in her wardrobe, and 
my pupils leave off their thick shoes and tight old tartan pelisses, and 
wear silk stockings and muslin frocks, as fashionable baronets' daughters 
should. Bose came in yesterday in a sad plight — the Wiltshire sow (an 
enormous pet of hers) ran her down, and destroyed a most lovely flowered 
lilac silk dress by dancing over it — had this happened a week ago, Sir 
Pitt would have sworn frightfully, have boxed the poor wretch's ears, and 
put her upon bread and water for a month. All he said was, ' I'll serve 
you out, Miss, when your aunt's gone,' and laughed off the accident as 
quite trivial. Let us hope his wrath will have passed away before Miss 
Crawley's departure. I hope so, for Miss Pose's sake, I am sure. What 
a charming reconciler and peace-maker money is ! 

" Another admirable effect of Miss Crawley and her seventy thousand 
pounds is to be seen in the conduct of the two brothers Crawley. I 



* 




yy, 



J jf ■■ y\S / y / 



A XOYEL WITHOUT A HERO. 89 

mean the baronet and the rector, not our brothers — but the former, who 
hate each other all the year round, become quite loving at Christmas. I wrote 
to you last year how the abominable horse-racing rector was in the habit 
of preaching clumsy sermons at us at church, and how Sir Pitt snored in 
answer — when Miss Crawley arrives there is no such thing as quarreling 
heard of — the Hall visits the Rectory, and vice versa — the parson and the 
baronet talk about the pigs and the poachers, and the county business, 
in the most affable manner, and without quarreling in their cups, I believe 
— indeed Miss Crawley won't hear of their quarreling, and vows that she 
will leave her money to the Shropshire Crawleys if they offend her. If 
they were clever people those Shropshire Crawleys they might have it all, 
I think ; but the Shropshire Crawley is a clergyman like his Hampshire 
cousin, and mortally offended Miss Crawley (who had fled thither in a fit 
of rage against her impracticable brethren) by some strait-laced notions 
of morality. He would have prayers in the house, I believe. 

" Our sermon-books are shut tip when Miss Crawley arrives, and Mr. 
Pitt, whom she abominates, finds it convenient to go to town. On the 
other hand, the young dandy, blood, I believe, is the term, Captain Craw- 
lay makes his appearance, and I suppose you would like to know what 
sort of a person he is. 

" "Well, he is a very large young dandy. He is six feet high, and 
speaks with a great voice ; and swears a great deal ; and orders about the 
servants, who all adore him nevertheless ; for he is verv generous of his 
money, and the domestics will do anything for him. Last week the 
keepers almost killed a bailiff and his man who came down from London 
to arrest the Captain, and who were found lurking about the Park wall — 
they beat them, ducked them, and were going to shoot them for poachers, 
but the baronet interfered. 

" The Captain has a hearty contempt for his father, I can see, and calls 
lum an old put, au old snob, an old cliaic-hacon, and numberless other 
pretty names. He has a dreadful reputation among the ladies. He 
brings his hunters home with him , lives with the Squires of the county, 
asks whom he pleases to dinner, and Sir Pitt dares not say no, for fear 
of offending Miss Crawley, and missing his legacy when she dies of her 
apoplexy. Shall I tell you a compliment the Captain paid me ? I must, 
it is so pretty. One evening we actually had a dance ; there was Sir 
Huddleston Fuddleston and his family, Sir Giles "Wapshot and his young 
ladies, and I don't know how many more. "Well, I heard him say — c By 
jove, she 5 s a neat little filly ! ' meaning your humble servant : and he did 
me the honour to dance two country-dances with me. He gets on pretty 
gaily with the young Squires, with whom he drinks, bets, rides and talks 
about hunting and shooting ; but he says the country girls are bores ; 
indeed, I don't think he is far wrong. You should see the contempt with 
which they look down on poor me ! When they dance I sit and play 
the piano very demurely ; but the other night coming in rather flushed 
from the dining-room, and seeing me employed in this way, he swore out 
loud that I was the best dancer in the room, and took a great oath that 
he would have the fiddlers from Mudbury. 

" ' I '11 go and play a country-dance,' said Mrs. Bute Crawley, very 



90 



VANITY FAIE. 



readily (she is a little, black-faced old woman in a turban, ratter crooked, 
and with, very twinkling eyes) ; and after the Captain and your poor little 
Rebecca had performed a dance together, do you know she actually did me 




the honour to compliment me upon my steps ! Such a tiling was 
never heard of before ; the proud Mrs. Bute Crawley, first cousin to 
the Earl of Tiptoff, who won't condescend to visit Lady Crawley, except 
when her sister is in the country. Poor Lady Crawley ! ' during 
most part of these gaieties,' she is up stairs taking pills. 

" Mrs. Bute has all of a sudden taken a great fancy to me. ' My dear 
Miss Sharp,' she says, ' why not bring over your girls to the Bectory ? 
— their cousins will be so happy to see them.' I know what she means. 
Signor Clementi did not teach us the piano for nothing ; at which price 
Mrs. Bute hopes to get a professor for her children. I can see through 
her schemes, as though she told them to me ; but I shall go, as I am 
determined to make myself agreeable — is it not a poor governess's duty, 
who has not a friend or protector in the world ? The Bector's wife paid 
me a score of compliments about the progress my pupils made, and 
thought, no doubt, to touch my heart — poor, simple, country soul ! — as if 
I cared a fig about my pupils ! 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 



91 



" Your India muslin and. your pink silk, dearest Amelia, are said to 
become me very well. They are a good deal worn now ; but, you know, 
we poor girls can't afford des fraiclies toilettes. Happy, nappy you ! who 
have but to drive to St. James's Street, and a dear mother who will give 
you any thing you ask. Farewell, dearest girl. 

" Your affectionate 

"Eebecca. 

" P.S. I wish you could have seen the faces of the Miss Blackbrooks 
(Admiral Blackbrook's daughters, my dear) : fine young ladies, with dresses 
from London, when Captain Eawdon selected poor me for a partner ! 




" Here they are. "lis the very image of them. Adieu, adieu ! " 

When Mrs. Bute Crawley (whose artifices our ingenious Eebecca had 
so soon discovered) had procured from Miss Sharp the promise of a visit, 
she induced the all-powerful Miss Crawley to make the necessary applica- 
tion to Sir Pitt, ancl the good-natured old lady, who loved to be gay her- 
self, and to see every one gay and happy round about her, was quite 
charmed, and ready to establish a reconciliation and intimacy between her 
two brothers. It was therefore agreed that the young people of both 



92 VANITY FAIK. 



families should visit eacli other frequently for the future, and the friend- 
ship of course lasted as long as the jovial old mediatrix was there to keep 
the peace. 

" Why did you ask that scoundrel, Petty Crawley, to dine?" said the 
Hector to his lady, as they were walking home through the park. "/ don't 
want the fellow. He looks down upon us country people as so many 
blackamoors. He 's never content unless he gets my yellow-sealed wine, 
which costs me ten shillings a bottle, hang him ! Besides, he 's such an 
infernal character — he's a gambler — he's a drunkard — he's a profligate 
in every way. He 's killed a man in a duel — he 's over head and ears in 
debt, and he 's robbed me and mine of the best part of Miss Crawley's 
fortune. Waxy says she has him " — here the Hector shook his fist at the 
moon, with something very like an oath, and added, in a melancholious 

tone — " , down in her will for fifty thousand; and there won't be above 

thirty to divide." 

"I think she's going," said the Hector's wife. "She was very red in 
the face when we left dinner. I was obliged to unlace her." 

" She drank seven glasses of champagne," said the reverend gentleman, 
in a low voice; "and filthy champagne it is, too, that my brother poisons 
us with — but you women never know what 's what." 

"We know nothing," said Mrs. Bute Crawley. 

" She drank cherry-brandy after dinner," continued his Heverence, 
" and took curacao with her coffee. I wouldn't take a glass for a five- 
pound note : it kills me with heart-burn. She can't stand it, Mrs. 
Crawley — she must go— flesh and blood won't bear it ! and I lay five to 
two, Matilda drops in a year." 

Indulging in these solemn speculations, and thinking about his debts, 
and his son Jim at College, and Prank at Woolwich, and the four girls, 
who were no beauties, poor things, and would not have a penny but what 
they got from the aunt's expected legacy, the Hector and his lady walked 
on for a while. 

" Pitt can't be such an infernal villain as to sell the reversion of the 
living. And that Methodist milksop of an eldest son looks to Parha- 
ment," continued Mr. Crawley, after a pause. 

" Sir Pitt Crawley will do anything," said the Hector's wife. " We 
must get Miss Crawley to make him promise it to James." 

" Pitt will promise anything," replied the brother. " He promised 
he 'd pay my college bills, when my father died : he promised he 'd build 
the new wing to the Hectory : he promised he 'd let me have Jibb's field 
and the Six-acre Meadow — and much he executed his promises ! And 
it 's to this man's son — this scoundrel, gambler, swindler, murderer of 
a Uawdon Crawley that Matilda leaves the bulk of her money. I say it 's 
un-Christian. By Jove, it is. The infamous dog has got every rice 
except hypocrisy, and that belongs to his brother." 

" Hush, my dearest love ! we 're in Sir Pitt's grounds," interposed his 
wife. 

" I say he has got every vice, Mrs. Crawley. Don't, Ma'am, bully me. 
Didn't he shoot Captain Pirebrace? Didn't he rob young Lord Dovedale 
at the ' Cocoa-Tree ? ' Didn't he cross the fight between Bill Soames and 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 93 

the Cheshire Trump, by which I lost forty pound ? You know he did ; 
and as for the women, why, you heard that before me, in my own magis- 
trates 5 room- " 

" For Heaven's sake, Mr. Crawley," said the lady, " spare me the 
details." 

" And you ask this villain into your house !" continued the exasperated 
Eector. " You, the mother of a young family — the wife of a clergyman of 
the Church of England. By Jove ! " 

" Bute Crawley, you are a fool," said the Bector's wife, scornfully. 

" Well, Ma'am, fool or not — and I don't say, Martha, I 'm so clever as 
you are, I never did. But I won't meet Bawdon Crawley, that 's flat. 
I '11 go over to Huddleston, that I will, and see his black greyhound, Mrs. 
Crawley ; and I '11 run Lancelot against him for fifty. By Jove, I will ; 
or against anv dog in England. But I won't meet that beast Bawdon 
Crawley." 

" Mr. Crawley, you are intoxicated, as usual," replied his wife. And 
the next morning, when the Eector woke, and called for small beer, she 
put him in mind of his promise to visit Sir Huddleston Euddleston, on 
Saturday, and as he knew he should have a wet nigltt, it was agreed 
that he might gallop back again in time for church on Sunday morning. 
Thus it will be seen that the parishioners of Crawley were equally happy 
in their squire and in their rector. 

Miss Crawley had not long been established at the Hall before Bebecca's 
fascinations had won the heart of that good-natured London rake, as they 
had of the country innocents whom we have been describing. Taking her 
accustomed drive, one day, she thought fit to order that " that little gover- 
ness" should accompany her to Mudbury. Before they had returned 
Bebecca had made a conquest of her ; having made her laugh four times, 
and amused her during the whole of the little journey. 

" Not let Miss Sharp dine at table ! " said she to Sir Pitt, who had 
arranged a dinner of ceremony, and asked all the neighbouring baronets. 
" My dear creature, do you suppose I can talk about the nursery with 
Lady Euddleston, or discuss justices' business with that goose, old Sir 
Giles Wapshot ? I insist upon Miss Sharp appearing. Let Lady Crawley 
remain up stairs, if there is no room. But little Miss Sharp ! Why, 
she 's the only person fit to talk to in the county !" 

Of course, after such a peremptory order as this, Miss Sharp, the 
governess, received commands to dine with the illustrious company below 
stairs. And when Sir Huddleston had, with great pomp and ceremony, 
handed Miss Crawley into dinner, and was preparing to take his place by 
her side, the old lady cried out, in a shrill voice. " Becky Sharp ! Miss 
Sharp ! Come you and sit by me and amuse me ; and let Sir Huddleston 
sit by Lady Wapshot." 

When the parties were over, and the carriages had rolled away, the insa- 
tiable Miss Crawley would say, " Come to my dressing-room, Becky, and 
let us abuse the company," — which, between them, this pair df friends 
did perfectly. Old Sir Huddleston wheezed a great deal at dinner ; Sir 
Giles Wapshot had a particularly noisy manner of imbibing his soup, and 



94: VANITY FAIR. 



her ladyship a wink of the left eye ; all of which Becky caricatured to 
admiration ; as well as the particulars of the night's conversation ; the 
politics ; the war ; the quarter-sessions ; the famous run with the H. H., 
and those heavy and dreary themes, about which country gentlemen 
converse. As for the Misses Wapshots' toilettes and Lady Fuddleston's 
famous yellow hat, Miss Sharp tore them to tatters, to the infinite amuse- 
ment of her audience. 

" My dear, you are a perfect trouvaille," Miss Crawley would say. " I 
wish you could come to me in London, but I couldn't make a butt of you 
as I do of poor Briggs, — no, no, you little sly creature ; you are too clever 
—Isn't she, Firkin ?" 

Mrs. Firkin (who was dressing the very small remnant of hair which 
remained on Miss Crawley's pate), flung up her head and said, " I think 
Miss is very clever," with the most killing sarcastic air. In fact, Mrs. 
Firkin had that natural jealousy which is one of the main principles of every 
honest woman. 

After rebuffing Sir Huddleston Fuddleston, Miss Crawley ordered that 
Eawdon Crawley should lead her into dinner every day, and that Becky 
should follow with her cushion — or else she would have Becky's arm and 
Kawdon with the pillow. " We must sit together," she said. " We're 
the only three Christians in the county, my love" — in which case, it must 
be confessed, that religion was at a very low ebb in the county of Hants. 

Besides being such a fine religionist, Miss Crawley was, as we have said, 
an Ultra-liberal in opinions and always took occasion to express these in 
the most candid manner. 

" What is birth, my dear ? " she would say to Bebecca — " Look at my 
brother Pitt ; look at the Huddlestons, who have been here since Henry 
II., look at poor Bute at the parsonage ; — are any one of them equal to you 
in intelligence or breeding ? Equal to you — they are not even equal to 
poor dear Briggs, my companion, or Bincer, my butler. Tou, my love, 
are a little paragon — positively a little jewel — You have more brains than 
half the shire — if merit had its reward, you ought to be a Duchess — no, 
there ought to be no duchesses at all — but you ought to have no superior, 
and I consider you, my love, as my equal in every respect ; and — will you 
put some coals on the fire, my dear ; and will you pick this dress of mine, 
and alter it, you who can do it so well?" So this old philanthropist used 
to make her equal run of her errands, execute her millinery, and read her to 
sleep with French novels, every night. 

At this time, as some old readers may recollect, the genteel world had 
been thrown into a considerable state of excitement, by two events, which, 
as the papers say, might give employment to gentlemen of the long robe. 
Ensign Shafton had run away Avith Lady Barbara Fitzurse, the Earl of 
Bruin's daughter and heiress ; and poor Vere Vane, a gentleman who, up 
to forty, had maintained a most respectable character and reared a 
numerous family, suddenly and outrageously left his home, for the sake of 
Mrs. Bougemont, the actress, who was sixty-five years of age. 

" That was the most beautiful part of dear Lord Nelson's character," 
Miss Crawley said. " He went to the deuce for a woman. There must 
be good in a man who will do that. I adore all imprudent matches. — 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 95 

What I like best, is for a nobleman to many a miller's daughter, as Lord 
Llowerdale did — it makes all the women so angry — I wish some great 
man would run away with you, my dear ; I'm sure you're pretty enough." 

" Two post-boys ! — Oh ! it would be delightful ! " Eebecca owned. 

'•' And what I like next best, is, for a poor fellow to run away with a 
rich girl. I have set mv heart on Eawdon running awav with some one." 

" A rich some one, or a poor some one ? " 

" Why, you goose ! Eawdon has not a shilling but what I give hiin. 
He is crible de dettes — he must repair his fortunes, and succeed in the 
world." 

" Is he very clever ? " Eebecca asked. 

" Clever, my love ? — not an idea in the world beyond his horses, and 
his regiment, and his hunting, and his play; but he must succeed — he's 
so delightfullv wicked. Don't von know he has killed a man, and shot an 
injured father through the hat only ? He 's adored in his regiment ; and 
all the young men at Wattier's and the Cocoa Tree swear by him.* 

When Miss Eebecca Sharp wrote to her beloved friend the account of 
the little ball at Queen's Crawley, and the manner in which, for the first 
time, Captain Crawley, had distinguished her, she did not, strange to 
relate, give an altogether accurate account of the transaction. The Captain 
had distinguished her a great number of times before. The Captain had 
met her in a half-score of walks. The Captain had lighted upon her in a 
half-hundred of corridors and passages. The Captain had hung over her 
piano twenty times of an evening, as (My Lady was now up stairs, being 
ill, and nobody heeded her) she sang. The Captain had written her notes 
(the best that the great blundering dragoon could devise and spell ; but 
dulness gets on as well as any other quality with women). But when he 
put the first of the notes into the leaves of the song she was singing, the 
little governess, rising and looking him steadily in the face, took up the 
triangular missive daintily, and waved it about as if it were a cocked hat, 
and she, advancing to the enemy popped the note into the fire, and 
made him a very low curtsey, and went back to her place, and began to 
sing away again more merrily than ever. 

"What's that?" said Miss Crawley, interrupted in her after-dinner 
doze by the stoppage of the music. 

'•'It's a false note," Miss Sharp said, with a laugh; aud Eawdon 
Crawley fumed with rage and mortification. 

Seeing the evident partiality of Miss Crawley for the new governess, 
how good it was of Mrs. Lute Crawley not to be jealous, and to welcome 
the young lady to the Eectory, and not only her, but Eawdon Crawley, 
her husband's rival in the Old Maid's five per cents. ! They became very 
fond of each other's society, Mrs. Crawley and her nephew. He gave up 
hunting : he declined entertainments at Fuddleston : he would not dine 
with the mess of the depot at Mudbury : his great pleasure was to stroll 

* If anvbody considers this is an overdrawn" picture of a noble and influential class of 
persons, I refer them to contemporaneous histories — such as Byron's Memoirs, for instance; 
in which popular illustration of Vanity Fair, you have the morals of Richelieu and the 
elegance of Dutch Sam. 



96 VAXITY FAIR. 



over to Crawley parsonage — whither Miss Crawley came too ; and as their 
mamma was ill, why not the children with Miss Sharp ? So the children 
(little dears !) came with Miss Sharp; and of an evening some of the party 
would walk back together. Not Miss Crawley — she preferred her car- 
riage — but the walk over the Eectory fields, and in at the little park 
wicket, and through the dark plantation, and up the checkered avenue to 
Queen's Crawley, was charming in the moonlight to two such lovers of 
the picturesque as the Captain and Miss Rebecca. 

" O those stars, those stars ! " 'Miss Rebecca would say, turning her 
twinkling green eyes up towards them. " I feel myself almost a spirit 
when I gaze upon them." 

" — ah — Gad — yes, so do I exactly, Miss Sharp," the other enthu- 
siast replied. " You don't mind my cigar, do you, Miss Sharp ?" Miss 
Sharp loved the smell of a cigar out of doors beyond everything in the 
world — and she just tasted oue too, in the prettiest way possible, and gave 
a little puff, and a little scream, and a little giggle, and restored the deli- 
cacy to the Captain ; who twirled his moustache, and straightway puffed 
it into a blaze that glowed quite red in the dark plantation, and swore — 
" Jove — aw — Gad — aw — its the finest segaw I ever smoked in the 
world aw," for Ms intellect and conversation were alike brilliant and be- 
coming to a heavy young dragoon. 

Old Sir Pitt, who was taking his pipe and beer, and talking to John 
Horrocks about a " ship " that was to be killed, espied the pair so occu- 
pied from his study- window, and with dreadful oaths swore that if it 
wasn't for Miss Crawley, he 'd take Rawdon and bundle un out of doors, 
like a rogue as he was. 

" He be a bad 'n, sure enough," Mr. Horrocks remarked ; " and his man 
Flethers is wuss, and have made such a row in the housekeeper's room 
about the dinners and hale, as no lord woidd make — but I think Miss 
Sharp 's a match for 'n, Sir Pitt," he added, after a pause. 

And so, in truth, she was — for father and son too. 



CHAPTER XII. 




QUITE A SENTIMENTAL CHAPTER. 

E must now take leave of Arcadia, and 

those amiable people practising the rural 

virtues there, and travel back to London, 

mm i\\ is to inquire what has become of Miss Amelia. 

,*J§ls iM | Wlmin "We don't care a fig for her," writes 

some unknown correspondent with a pretty 
little hand-writing and a pink seal to her 
note. " She is fade and insipid," and 
adds some more kind remarks in this strain, 
which I should never have repeated at all, 
but that they are in truth prodigiously com- 
plimentary to the young lady whom they 
concern. 

Has the beloved reader, in his experience 
of society, never heard similar remarks by 
good-natured female friends ; who always 
wonder what you can see in Miss Smith that 
is so fascinating ; or what could induce Major 
Jones to propose for that silly insignificant 
simpering Miss Thompson, who has nothing but her wax-doll face to 
recommend her ? "What is there in a pair of pink cheeks and blue eyes 
forsooth ? these dear Moralists ask, and hint wisely that the gifts of genius, 
the accomplishments of the mind, the mastery of Mangnall's questions, 
and a ladylike knowledge of botany and geology, the gift of making 
poetry, the power of rattling sonatas in the Herz-manner, and so forth, are 
far more valuable endowments for a female, than those fugitive charms 
which a few years will inevitably tarnish. It is quite edifying to hear 
women speculate upon the worthlessness and the duration of beauty. 

But though virtue is a much finer thing, and those hapless creatures 
who suffer under the misfortune of good looks ought to be continually put 
in mind of the fate which awaits them ; and though, very likely, the heroic 
female character whicb ladies admire is a more glorious and beautifid 
object than the kind, fresh, smiling, artless, tender little domestic goddess, 
whom men are inclined to worship — yet the latter and inferior sort of 
women must have this consolation — that the men do admire them after all ; 
and that, in spite of all our kind friends' warnings and protests, we go on 
in our desperate error and folly, and shall to the end of the chapter. 
Indeed, for my own part, though I have been repeatedly told by persons 
for whom I have the greatest respect, that Miss Brown is an insignificant 
chit, and Mrs. White has nothing but her petit minois c/tiffotme, and Mrs. 

H 



98 VANITY FAIR. 



Black has not a word to say for herself ; yet I know that I have had the 
most delightful conversations with Mrs. Black (of course, my dear Madam, 
they are inviolable) ; I see all the men in a cluster round Mrs. White's 
chair : all the young fellows battling to dance with Miss Brown : and so 
I am tempted to think that to be despised by her sex is a very great com- 
pliment to a woman. 

The young ladies in Amelia's society did this for her very satisfactorily. 
For instance, there was scarcely any point upon which the Miss Osbomes, 
George's sisters, and the Mesdemoiselles Dobbin agreed so well as in their 
estimate of her very trifling merits : and their wonder that their brothers 
could find any charms in her. " We are kind to her," the Misses Osborne 
said, a pair of fine black-browed young ladies who had had the best of 
governesses, masters, and milliners ; and they treated her with such 
extreme kindness and condescension, and patronised her so insufferably, 
that the poor little thing was in fact perfectly dumb in their presence, and 
to all outward appearance as stupid as they thought her. She made' 
efforts to like them, as in duty bound, and as sisters of her future husband. 
She passed " long mornings " with them — the most dreary and serious of 
forenoons. She drove out solemnly in their great family coach with them, 
and Miss Wirt their governess, that raw-boned Vestal. They took her to 
the ancient concerts by way of a treat, and to the oratorio, and to St. 
Paul's to see the charity children, where, in such terror was she of her 
friends, she almost did not dare be affected by the hymn the children sang. 
Their house was comfortable ; their papa's table rich and handsome ; their 
society solemn and genteel ; then self-respect prodigious ; they had the 
best pew at the Foundling ; all their habits were pompous and orderly, 
and all their amusements intolerably dull and decorous. 'After every one 
of her visits (and O how glad she was when they were over !) Miss Osborne 
and Miss Maria Osborne, and Miss Wirt, the vestal governess, asked each 
other with increased wonder, "What could George find in that creature?" 

How is this ? some carping reader exclaims. How is it that Amelia, 
who had such a number of friends at school, and was so beloved there, 
comes out into the world and is spumed by her discriminating sex ? My 
dear Sir, there were no men at Miss Pinkerton's establishment except the 
old dancing-master ; and you woidd not have had the girls fall out about 
Mm ? When George, then handsome brother, ran off directly after break- 
fast, and dined from home half-a-dozen times a-week ; no wonder the 
neglected sisters felt a little vexation. When young Bullock (of the firm 
of Hulker, Bullock and Co., Bankers, Lombard Street) who had been making 
up to Miss Maria the last two seasons, actually asked Amelia to dance 
the cotillon, could you expect that the former young lady should be 
pleased ? And yet she said she was, like an artless forgiving creature. 
" I 'm so delighted you like dear Amelia," she said quite eagerly to Mr. 
Bullock after the dance. " She's engaged to my brother George ; there 's 
not much in her, but she's the best-natured and most unaffected young 
creature : at home we're all so fond of her." Dear girl ! who can calcu- 
late the depth of affection expressed in that enthusiastic so ? 

Miss Wirt and these two affectionate young women so earnestly and 
frequently impressed upon George Osborne's mind the enormity of the 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 99 

sacrifice he was making, and his romantic generosity in throwing himself 
away upon Amelia, that I 'm not sure but that he really thought he was 
one of the most deserving characters in the British army, and gave himself 
up to be loved with a good deal of easy resignation. 

Somehow, although he left home every morning, as was stated, and 
dined abroad six days in the week, when his sister believed the infatuated 
youth to be at Miss Sedley's apron-strings : he was not always with Amelia, 
wliilst the world supposed him at her feet. Certain it is that on more 
occasions than one, when Captain Dobbin called to look for his friend, 
Miss Osborne (who was very attentive to the Captain, and anxious to hear 
his military stories, and to know about the health of his dear Mamma), 
Miss Osborne would laughingly point to the opposite side of the square, 
and say, " Oh, you must go to the Sedley's to ask for George ; toe never 
see him from morning till night." At which kind of speech the Captain 
would laugh in rather an absurd constrained manner, and turn off the con- 
versation, like a consummate man of the world, to some topic of general 
interest, such as the Opera, the Prince's last ball at Carlton House, or 
the weather — that blessing to society. 

" What an innocent it is, that pet of yours," Miss Maria would then 
say to Miss Jane, upon the Captain's departure. " Did you see how he 
blushed at the mention of poor George on duty ?" 

"It's a pity Frederic Bullock hadn't some of his modesty, Maria," 
replies the elder sister, with a toss of her head. 

" Modesty ! Awkwardness you mean, Jane. I don't want Frederic to 
trample a hole in my muslin frock, as Captain Dobbin did in your's at Mrs. 
Perkins'." 

"In your frock, he, he! How could he? Wasn't he dancing with 
Amelia?" 

The fact is, when Captain Dobbin blushed so, and looked so awkward, 
he remembered a circumstance of which he did not think it was necessary 
to inform the young ladies, viz. that he had been cabling at Mr. Sedley's 
house' already, on the pretence of seeing George, of course, and George 
wasn't there, only poor little Amelia, with rather a sad wistful face, seated 
near the drawing-room window, who, after some very trifling stupid talk, 
ventured to ask, was there any truth in the report that the regiment was 
soon to be ordered abroad ; and had Captain Dobbin seen Mr. Osborne 
that day? 

The regiment was not ordered abroad as yet ; and Captain Dobbin had 
not seen George. " He was with his sister, most likely," the Captain said. 
" Should he go and fetch the truant ?" So she gave him her hand kindly 
and gratefully : and he crossed the square ; and she waited and waited, 
but George never came. 

Poor little tender heart ! and so it goes on hoping and beating, and 
longing and trusting. You see it 's not much of a life to describe. There 's 
not much of what you call incident in it. Only one feebng all day — when 
will he come ? only one thought to sleep and wake upon. I believe George 
was playing billiards with Captain Cannon in Swallow Street at the time 
when Amelia was asking Captain Dobbin about him ; for he was a jolly 
sociable fellow, and excellent in all games of skill. 

h2 



100 



VANITY FAIE. 



Once, after three days of absence, Miss Amelia put on her bonnet, and 
actually invaded the Osborne house. "What ! leave our brother to come 
to us ?" said the young ladies. " Have you had a quarrel, Amelia ? Do 
tell us ! " No, indeed, there had been no quarrel. " Who could quarrel 
with him," says she, with her eyes Med with tears. She only came over 
to — to see her dear friends ; they had not met for so long. And this 
day she was so perfectly stupid and awkward, that the Miss Osbornes 
and their governess, who stared after her as she went sadly away, wondered 
more than ever what George could see in poor little Amelia. 




Of course they did. How was she to bare that timid little heart for 
the inspection of those young ladies with their bold black eyes ? It was 
best that it should shrink and hide itself. I know the Miss Osbornes 
were excellent critics of a Cashmere shawl, or a pink satin slip ; and when 
Miss Turner had her's died purple, and made into a spencer ; and when 
Miss Pickford had her ermine tippet twisted into a muff and trimmings, 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 101 

I warrant you the changes did not escape the two intelligent young 
women before mentioned. Bnt there are things, look you, of a finer 
texture than fur or satin, and all Solomon's glories, and all the wardrobe 
of the Queen of Sheba ; — things whereof the beauty escapes the eyes of 
many connoisseurs. And there are sweet modest little souls on which you 
light, fragrant and blooming tenderly in quiet shady places; and there 
are garden-ornaments, as big as brass warming-pans, that are fit to stare 
the sun itself out of countenance. Miss Sedley was not of the sun-flower 
sort ; and I say it is out of the rules of all proportion to draw a violet of 
the size of a double dahlia. 

No, indeed ; the life of a good young girl who is in the paternal nest 
as yet, can't have many of those thrilling incidents to which the heroine of 
romance commonly lays claim. Snares or shot may take off the old birds 
foraging without — hawks may be abroad, from which they escape or by 
whom they suffer; but the young ones in the nest have a pretty comfortable 
unromantic sort of existence in the down and the straw, till it comes to 
their turn, too, to get on the wing. While Becky Sharp was on her own 
wing in the country, hopping on all sorts of twigs, and amid a multiplicity 
of traps, and pecking up her food quite harmless and successful, Amelia 
lay snug in her home of Eussell Square ; if she went into the world, it was 
under the guidance of the elders ; nor did it seem that any evil could befal 
her or that opulent cheery comfortable home in which she was affection- 
ately sheltered. Mamma had her morning duties, and her daily drive, and 
that delightful round of visits and shopping which forms the amusement, 
or the profession as you may call it, of the rich London lady. Papa con- 
ducted his mysterious operations in the city — a stirring place in those 
days, when war was raging all over Europe, and empires were being 
staked; when the "Courier" newspaper had tens of thousands of sub- 
scribers ; when one day brought you a battle of Vittoria, another a burning 
of Moscow, or a newsman's horn blowing down Eussell Square about 
dinner-time announced such a fact as — " Battle of Leipsic — six hundred 
thousand men engaged — total defeat of the Trench — two hundred thousand 
killed." Old Sedley once or twice came home with a very grave face; and 
no wonder, when such news as this was agitating all the hearts and all the 
Stocks of Europe. 

Meanwhile matters went on in Eussell Square, Bloomsbury, just as if 
matters in Europe were not in the least disorganised. The retreat from 
Leipsic made no difference in the number of meals Mr. Sambo took in the 
servant's hall ; the allies poured into France, and the dinner-bell rang at 
five o'clock just as usual. I don't think poor Amelia cared anything about 
Brienne and Montmirail, or was fairly interested in the war until the 
abdication of the Emperor; when she clapped her hands and said prayers, — 
oh, how grateful ! and flung herself into George Osborne's arms with all 
her soul, to the astonishment of every body who witnessed that ebullition 
of sentiment. The fact is, peace w T as declared, Europe was going to be at 
rest; the Corsican was overthrown, and Lieutenant Osborne's regiment 
would not be ordered on service. That was the way in which Miss 
Amelia reasoned. The fate of Europe was Lieutenant George Osborne to 
her. His dangers being over, she sang to Heaven. He was her Europe : 



102 VANITY FAIK. 



her emperor : her allied monarchs and august prince regent. He was her 
sun and moon j and I believe she thought the grand illumination and ball 
at the Mansion House, given to the sovereigns, were especially in honour 
of George Osborne. 

We have talked of shift, self, and poverty, as those dismal instructors 
under whom poor Miss Becky Sharp got her education. Now, love was 
Miss Amelia Sedley's last tutoress, and it was amazing what progress our 
young lady made under that popular teacher. In the course of fifteen 
or eighteen months' daily and constant attention to this eminent finishing 
governess, what a deal of secrets Amelia learned, which Miss Wirt and the 
black-eyed young ladies over the way, which old Miss Pinkerton of Chiswick 
herself, had no cognizance of ! As, indeed, how shovdd any of those prim 
and reputable virgins ? With Misses P. and W. the tender passion is out 
of the question: I woidd not dare to breathe such an idea regarding them. 
Miss Maria Osborne, it is true, was " attached " to Mr. Prederic Augustus 
Bullock, of the firm of Hulker, Bullock, & Bullock ; but her's was a most 
respectable attachment, and she would have taken Bullock Senior, just the 
same, her mind being fixed as that of a well-bred young woman shoidd 
be, — upon a house in Park Lane, a country house at Wimbledon, a hand- 
some chariot, and two prodigious tall horses and footmen, and a fourth of 
the annual profits of the eminent firm of Hulker & Bullock, all of which 
advantages were represented in the person of Prederic Augustus. Had 
orange blossoms been invented then (those touching emblems of female 
purity imported by us from Prance, where people's daughters are univer- 
sally sold in marriage), Miss Maria, I say, would have assumed the spotless 
wreath, and stepped into the travelling carriage by the side of gouty, old, 
bald-headed, bottle-nosed Bullock Senior ; and devoted her beautiful 
existence to his happiness with perfect modesty, — only the old gentleman 
was married already ; so she bestowed her young affections on the junior 
partner. Sweet, blooming, orange flowers ! The other day I saw Miss 
Trotter (that was), arrayed in them, trip into the travelling carriage at St. 
George's, Hanover Square, and Lord Methuselah hobbled in after. With 
what an engaging modesty she pulled down the blinds of the chariot — 
the dear innocent ! There were half the carriages of Vanity Pair at the 
wedding. 

This was not the sort of love that finished Ameha's education ; and in 
the course of a year turned a good young girl into a good young woman — 
to be a good wife presently, when the happy time should come. This 
young person (perhaps it was very imprudent in her parents to encourage 
her, and abet her in such idolatry and silly romantic ideas) loved, with all 
her heart, the young officer in his Majesty's service with whom we have 
made a brief acquaintance. She thought about him the very first moment 
on waking; and his was the very last name mentioned in her prayers. 
She never had seen a man so beautiful or so clever : such a figure on 
horseback : such a dancer : such a hero in general. Talk of the Prince's 
bow! what was it to George's? She had seen Mr. Bmmmell, whom 
every body praised so. Compare such a person as that to her George ! 
Not amongst all the beaux at the Opera (and there were beaux in those 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 103 

days with actual opera hats) was there any one to equal him. He was 
only good enough to be a fairy prince ; and oh, what magnanimity to stoop 
to such a humble Cinderella ! Miss Pinkerton would have tried to check 
this blind devotion very hkely, had she been Amelia's confidante ; but not 
with much success, depend upon it. It is in the nature and instinct of 
some women. Some are made to scheme, and some to love ; and I wish 
any respected bachelor that reads this may take the sort that best Ukes him. 

"While under this overpowering impression, Miss Amelia neglected her 
twelve dear friends at Chiswick most cruelly, as such selfish people com- 
monly will do. She had but this subject, of course, to think about ; and 
Miss Saltire was too cold for a confidante, and she couldn't bring her mind 
to tell Miss Swartz, the woolly -haired young heiress from St. Kitt's. She 
had little Laura Martin home for the holidays ; and my belief is, she 
made a confidante of her, and promised that Laura should come and live 
with her when she was married, and gave Laura a great deal of informa- 
tion regarding the passion of love, which must have been singularly useful 
and novel to that little person. Alas, alas ! I fear she had not a well- 
regulated mind. 

What were her parents doing, not to keep this little heart from beating 
so fast? Old Sedley did not seem much to notice matters. He was 
graver of late, and his City affairs absorbed him. Mrs. Sedley was of so 
easy and uninquisitive a nature, that she wasn't even jealous. Mr. Jos. 
was away, being besieged by an Irish widow at Cheltenham. Amelia had 
the house to herself — ah ! too much to herself sometimes — not that she 
ever doubted ; for, to be sure, George must be at the Horse-Guards ; aud 
he can't always get leave from Chatham ; and he must see his friends and 
sisters, and mingle in society when in town (he such an ornament to every 
society !) ; and when he is with the regiment, he is too tired to write long 
letters. I know where she kept that packet she had — and can steal in 
and out of her chamber like Iachimo — like Iachimo ? ISo — that is a bad 
part. I will only act Moonshine, and peep harmless into the bed where 
faith and beauty and innocence he dreaming. 

But if Osborne's were short and soldierlike letters, it must be confessed, 
that were Miss Sedley's letters to Mr. Osborue to be published, we should 
have to extend this novel to such a multiplicity of volumes as not the most 
sentimental reader could support ; that she not only filled sheets of large 
paper, but crossed them with the most astonishing perverseness ; that she 
wrote whole pages out of poetry -books without the least pity ; that she 
underlined words and passages with quite a frantic emphasis ; and, in fine, 
gave the usual tokens of her condition. She wasn't a heroine. Her letters 
were full of repetition. She wrote rather doubtful grammar sometimes, 
aud in her verses took all sorts of liberties with the metre. But oh, mes- 
dames, if you are not allowed to touch the heart sometimes in spite of 
syntax, and are not to be loved until you all know the difference between 
trimeter and tetrameter, may all Poetry go to the deuce, and every school- 
master perish miserably ! 



CHAPTER XIII. 



SENTIMENTAL AND OTHERWISE. 




PEAR the gentleman to whom Miss 
Amelia's letters were addressed was 
rather an obdurate critic. Such a 
number of notes followed Lieutenant 
Osborne about the country, that he 
became ahnost ashamed of the jokes 
of his mess-room companions regard- 
ing them, and ordered his servant never 
to deliver them, except at his private 
apartment. He was seen lighting his 
cigar with one, to the horror of Captain 
Dobbin, who, it is my belief, would 
have given a bank-note for the docu- 
ment. 

Por some time George strove to keep the liaison a secret. There was a 
woman in the case, that he admitted. " And not the first either," said Ensign 
Spooney to Ensign Stubbles. " That Osborne 's a devil of a fellow. There 
was a judge's daughter at Demerara went almost mad about him ; then 
there was that beautiful craadroon girl, Miss Pye, at St. Vincent's, you 
know ; and since he 's been home, they say he 's a regular Don Giovanni, 
by Jove," 

Stubbles and Spooney thought that to be a " regular Don Giovanni by 
Jove" was one of the finest qualities a man could possess ; and Osborne's 
reputation was prodigious amongst the young men of the regiment. He 
was famous in field-sports, famous at a song, famous on parade ; free with 
his money, which was bountifully supplied by his father. His coats were 
better made than any man's in the regiment, and he had more of them. 
He was adored by the men. He could drink more than any officer of the 
whole mess, including old Heavytop, the colonel. He could spar better 
than Knuckles, the private (who would have been a corporal but for his 
drunkenness, and who had been in the prize-ring) ; and was the best batter 
and bowler, out and out, of the regimental club. He rode his own horse, 
Greased Lightning, and won the Garrison cup at Quebec races. There 
were other people besides Amelia who worshipped him. Stubbles and 
Spooney thought him a sort of Apollo ; Dobbin took him to be an Admi- 
rable Crichton ; and Mrs. Major O'Dowd acknowledged he was an elegant 
young fellow, and put her in mind of Eitzjurld Fogarty, Lord Castle- 
fbgarty's second son. 

Well, Stubbles and Spooney and the rest indulged in most romantic con- 
jectures regarding this female correspondence of Osborne's, — opining that 



A NOYEL WITHOUT A HERO. 105 

it was a Duchess in London, who was in love with, him, — or that it was 
a General's daughter, who was engaged to somebody else, and madly 
attached to him, — or that it was a Member of Parliament's lady, who pro- 
posed four horses and an elopement, — or that it was some other victim 
of a passion delightfully exciting, romantic, and disgraceful to all parties, 
on none of which conjectures would Osborne throw the least light, 
leaving his young admirers and friends to invent and arrange their whole 
history. 

And the real state of the case would never have been known at all in the 
regiment but for Captain Dobbin's indiscretion. The Captain was eating 
his breakfast one day in the mess-room, while Cackle, the assistant-surgeon, 
and the two above-named worthies were speculating upon Osborne's intrigue 
— Stubbles holding out that the lady was a Ducliess about Queen Char- 
lotte's court, and Cackle vowing she was an opera-singer of the worst 
reputation. At this idea Dobbin became so moved, that though his 
mouth was full of egg and bread-and-butter at the time, and though he 
ought not to have spoken at all, yet he couldn't help blurting out, " Cackle, 
you 're a thtupid fool. You 're alwayth talking nonthenth and thcandal. 
Othborne ith not going to run off with a Duchess or ruin a milliner. INIiss 
Sedley is one of the most charming young women that ever lived. He 's 
been engaged to her ever so long ; and the man who calls her names had 
better not do so in my hearing." With which, turning exceedingly red, 
Dobbin ceased speaking, and almost choked himself with a cup of tea. The 
story was over the regiment in half-an-hour ; and that very evening Mrs. 
Major O'Dowd wrote off to her sister Glorvina at O'Dowdstown not to 
hurry from Dublin, — young Osborne being prematurely engaged already. 

She complimented the Lieutenant in an appropriate speech over a glass 
of whisky-toddy that evening, and he went home perfectly furious to 
quarrel with Dobbin, (who had declined Mrs. Major O'Dowd's party, and 
sat in his own room playing the flute, and, I believe, writing poetry in a 
very melancholy manner) — to quarrel with Dobbin for betraying bis secret. 

" Who the deuce asked you to talk about my affairs," Osborne shouted 
indignantly. ""Why the devil is all the regiment to know that I am going 
to be married? Why is that tattling old harridan, Peggy O'Dowd, to 
make free with my name over her d — d supper-table, and advertise my 
engagement over the tlnee kingdoms ? After all, what right have you to 
say I am engaged, or to meddle in my business at all, Dobbin ? " 

" It seems to me," — Captain Dobbin began. 

" Seems be hanged, Dobbin," his junior interrupted him. " I am 
under obligations to you, I know it, a d — d deal too well too ; but I won 't 
be always sermonised by you because you 're five years my senior. I 'm 
hanged if I '11 stand your airs of superiority and infernal pity and patron- 
age. Pity and patronage ! I should Hke to know in what I ! m your 
inferior ? " 

"Are you engaged?" Captain Dobbin interposed. 

" What the devil's that to you or any one here if I am ? " 

" Are you ashamed of it ? " Dobbin resumed. 

" What right have you to ask me that question, sir? I should like to 
know," George said. 



106 VANITY FAIE. 



" Good God, you don't mean to say you want to break off?" asked 
Dobbin, starting up. 

" In other words, you ask me if I 'm a man of honour," said Osborne, 
fiercely ; " is that what you mean ? You've adopted such a tone regarding 
me lately that I 'm if I '11 bear it any more." 

" What have I done ? I 've told you you were neglecting a sweet girl, 
George. I 've told you that when you go to town you ought to go to her, 
and not to the gambling-houses about St. James's." 

" You want your money back, I suppose," said George, with a sneer. 

" Of course I do — I always did, didn't I ? " says Dobbin. " You speak 
like a generous fellow." 

" No, hang it, William, I beg your pardon " — here George interposed 
in a fit of remorse ; " you Jiave been my friend in a hundred ways, 
Heaven knows. You've got me out of a score of scrapes. When 
Crawley of the Guards won that sum of money of me I should have been 
done but for you : I know T should. But you shouldn't deal so hardly 
with me ; you shouldn't be always catechizing me. I am very fond of 
Amelia ; I adore her, and that sort of thing. Don't look angry. She's 
faultless ; I know she is. But you see there 's no fun in winning a thing 
unless you play for it. Hang it : the regiment's just back from the West 
Indies, I must have a little fling, and then when I 'm married I '11 reform ; 
I will upon my honour, now. And — I say — Dob — don't be angry with 
me, and I '11 give you a hundred next month, when I know my father will 
stand something handsome ; and I'll ask Heavytop for leave, and I'll go 
to town, and see Amelia to-morrow — there now, will that satisfy you?" 

" It's impossible to be long angry with you, George," said the good- 
natured Captain ; " and as for the money, old boy, you know if I wanted 
it you 'd share your last shilling with me." 

_ " That I would, by Jove, Dobbin," George said, with the greatest gene- 
rosity, though by the way he never had any money to spare. 

" Only I wish you had sown those wild oats of yours, George. If you 
could have seen poor little Miss Emmy's face when she asked me about 
you the other day, you would have pitched those billiard-balls to the deuce. 
Go and comfort her, you rascal. Go and write her a long letter. Do 
something to make her happy ; a very little will." 

" I believe she 's d — d fond of me," the Lieutenant said, with a self- 
satisfied air ; and went off to finish the evening with some jolly fellows in 
the mess-room. 

Amelia meanwhile, in BussellSquare, was looking at the moon, which was 
shining upon that peaceful spot, as well as upon the square of the Chatham 
barracks, where Lieutenant Osborne was quartered, and thinking to her- 
self how her hero was employed. Perhaps he is visiting the sentries, 
thought she ; perhaps he is bivouacking ; perhaps he is attending the 
couch of a wounded comrade, or studying the art of war up in his own de- 
solate chamber. And her kind thoughts sped away as if they were angels 
and had wings, and flying down the river to Chatham and Kochester, strove 
to peep into the barracks where George was. 

■ All things considered, I think it was as well the gates were shut, and 
the sentry allowed no one to pass; so that the poor little white-robed angel 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 



107 



§1 I fl I 1 

m 




could not hear the songs those young fellows were roaring over the whiskey- 
punch. 

The day after the little conversation at Chatham barracks, young 
Osborne, to show that he would be as good as his word, prepared to go 
to town, thereby incurring Captain Dobbin's applause. " I should have 
liked to make her a little present," Osborne said to his friend in confi- 
dence, "only I am quite out of cash until my father tips up." But 
Dobbin would not allow this good nature and generosity to be balked, and 
so accommodated j\L\ Osborne -with a few pound notes, which the latter 
took after a little faint scruple. 

And I dare say he would have bought something very handsome for 
Amelia ; only, getting off the coach in Fleet Street, he was attracted by a 
handsome shirt-pin in a jeweller's window, which he could not resist ; and 
having paid for that, had very little money to spare for indulging in any 
further exercise of kindness. Never mind : you may be sure it was not his 
presents Amelia wanted. When he came to Eussell Square, her face 
lighted up as if he had been sunshine. The little cares, fears, tears, timid 
misgivings, sleepless fancies of I don't know how many days and nights, 
were forgotten, under one moment's influence of that familiar, irresistible 



108 VANITY FA1E. 



smile. He beamed on her from the drawing-room door— magnificent 
with ambrosial whiskers, like a god. Sambo, whose face as he announced 
Captain Osbin (having conferred a brevet rank on that young officer) 
blazed with a sympathetic grin, saw the little girl start, and flush, and 
jump up from her watching-place in the window; and Sambo retreated- 
and as soon as the door was shut, she went fluttering to Lieutenant George 
Osborne s heart as if it was the only natural home for her to nestle in 
Oh, thou poor panting little soul ! The very finest tree in the whole 
forest, with the straightest stem, and the strongest arms, and the thickest 
foliage, wherein you choose to build and coo, may be marked, for what 
you know, and may be down with a crash ere long. ' What an old, old 
simile that is, between man and timber ! 

In the meanwhile, George kissed her very kindly on her forehead and 
glistening eyes, and was very gracious and good; and she thought his 
diamond slnrt-pin (which she had not known him to wear before) the pret- 
tiest ornament ever seen. 

The observant reader, who has marked our young Lieutenant's previous 
behaviour, and has preserved our report of the brief conversation which he 
has just had with Captain Dobbin, lias possibly come to certain conclu- 
sions regarding the character of Mr. Osborne. Some cynical Frenchman 
has said that there are two parties to a love-transaction: the one who loves 
and the other who condescends to be so treated. Perhaps the love is 
occasionally on the man's side : perhaps on the lady's. Perhaps some 
infatuated swain has ere this mistaken insensibility for modesty, dullness 
for maiden-reserve, mere vacuity for sweet bashfubiess, and a goose, in a 
word, for a swan. Perhaps some beloved female subscriber has arrayed an 
ass in the splendour and glory of her imagination ; admired his dullness 
as manly simplicity; worshipped his selfishness as manly superiority 
treated his stupidity as majestic gravity, and used him as the brilliant 
fairy Titania did a certain carpenter of Athens. I think I have seen such 
comedies of errors going on in the world. But this is certain, that Amelia 
believed her lover to be one of the most gallant and brilliant men in the 
empire : and it is possible Lieutenant Osborne thought so too. 

He was a little wild : how many young men are ; and don't girls like 
a rake better than a milksop ? He hadn't sown his wild oats as yet, but 
he would soon : and quit the army, now that peace was proclaimed ; the 
Corsican monster locked up at Elba ; promotion by consequence over \ and 
no chance left for the display of his undoubted military talents and valour : 
and his allowance, with Amelia's settlement, would enable them to take a 
snug place in the country somewhere, in a good sporting neighbourhood ■ 
and he would hunt a little, and farm a little; and they would be very 
happy. As for remaining in the army as a married man," that was impos- 
sible. Fancy Mrs. George Osborne in lodgings in a country town; 
or, worse still, in the East or West Indies, with a society of officers' 
and patronized by Mrs. Major O'Dowd ! Amelia died with laughing at 
Osborne's stories about Mrs. Major O'Dowd. He loved her much too 
fondly to subject her to that horrid woman and her vulgarities, and the 
rough treatment of a soldier's wife. He didn't care for himself— not he ; 



; 




JO 



I J / ■ / /- r j/ / 



A XOYEL WITHOUT A HERO. 109 

but his dear little girl should take the place in society to which as his wife 
she was entitled : and to these proposals you may be sure she acceded, as 
she would to any other from the same author. 

Holding this kind of conversation, and building numberless castles in 
the air (which Amelia adorned with all sorts of flower-gardens, rustic 
walks, country churches, Sunday schools, and the like ; while George had 
his mind's eye directed to the stables, the kennel, and the cellar), this 
young pair passed away a couple of hours very pleasantly ; and as the 
Lieutenant had only that single day in town, and a great deal of most 
important business to transact, it was proposed that Miss Emmy shoidd 
dine with her future sisters-in-law. This invitation was accepted joyfully. 
He conducted her to his sisters ; where he left her talking and prattling in 
a way that astonished those ladies, who thought that George might make 
something of her ; and then went off to transact his business. 

In a word, he went out and ate ices at a pastry-cook's shop in Charing 
Cross ; tried a new coat in Pall Mall ; dropped in at the Old Slaughters', 
and called for Captain Cannon; played eleven games at billiards with the 
Captain, of which he won eight, and returned to Kussell Square half-an- 
hour late for dinner, but in very good humour. 

It was not so with old Mr. Osborne. "When that gentleman came from 
the city, and was welcomed in the drawing-room by his daughters and the 
elegant Miss' Wirt, they saw at once by his face — which was puffy, solemn, 
and yellow at the best of times — and by the scowl and twitching of his 
black eye-brows, that the heart within Ins large white waistcoat was 
disturbed and uneasy. When Amelia stepped forward to salute him, 
which she always did with great trembling and timidity, he gave a 
surly grunt of recognition, and dropped the little hand out of his great 
hirsute paw without any attempt to hold it there. He looked round 
gloomily at his eldest daughter ; who, comprehending the meaning of his 
look, which asked unmistakeablv, " Whv the devil is she here ?" said at 
once : — 

" George is in town, Papa ; and has gone to the Horse Guards, and 
will be back to dinner." 

" he is, is he ? I won't have the dinner kept waiting for him, 
Maria :" with which this worthy man lapsed into his particular chair, and 
then the utter silence in his genteel, well-furnished drawing-room, was 
only interrupted by the alarmed ticking of the great French clock. 

When that chronometer, which was surmounted by a cheerful brass 
group of the sacrifice of Iphigenia, tolled five in a heavy cathedral tone, 
Sir. Osborne pulled the bell at his right hand violently, and the butler 
rushed up. 

" Dinner ! " roared Mi". Osborne. 

" Mr. George isn't come in, sir," interposed the man. 

"Damn Mr. George, sir. Ami master of the house? Dixxer ! " 
Mr. Osborne scowled. Amelia trembled. A telegraphic communication 
of eyes passed between the other three ladies. The obedient bell in the 
lower regions began ringing the announcement of the meal. The tolling 
■over, the head of the family thrust his hands into the great tail-pockets of 



110 VANITY FAIR. 



his great blue coat and brass buttons, and without waiting for a further 
announcement, strode down stairs alone, scowling over his shoulder at the 
four females. 

" What 's the matter now, my dear ? " asked one of the other, as they 
rose and tripped gingerly behind the sire. 

"I suppose the funds are falling," whispered Miss Wirt; and so, 
trembling and in silence, this hushed female company followed their dark 
leader. They took their places in silence. He growled out a blessing, 
which sounded as gruffly as a curse. The great silver dish-covers were 
removed. Amelia trembled in her place, for she was next to the awful 
Osborne, and alone on her side of the table, — the gap being occasioned by 
the absence of George. 

" Soup ?" says Mr. Osborne, clutching the ladle, fixing his eyes on her, 
in a sepulchral tone ; and having helped her and the rest, did not speak for 
a while. 

" Take Miss Sedley's plate away," at last he said. " She can't eat the 
soup — no more can I. It 's beastly. Take aAvay the soup, Hicks, and 
to-morrow turn the cook out of the house, Maria." 

Having concluded his observations upon the soup, Mr. Osborne made a 
few curt remarks respecting the fish, also of a savage and satirical ten- 
dency, and cursed Billingsgate with an emphasis quite worthy of the 
place. Then he lapsed into silence, and swallowed sundry glasses of wine, 
looking more and more terrible, till a brisk knock at the door told of 
George's arrival, when everybody began to rally. 

" He could not come before. General Dagudet had kept him waiting at 
the Horse Guards. Never mind soup or fish. Give him anything — he 
didn't care what. Capital mutton — capital everything." His good- 
humour contrasted with his father's severity ; and he rattled on unceas- 
ingly during dinner, to the delight of all — of one especially, who need not 
be mentioned. 

As soon as the young ladies had discussed the orange and the glass of 
wine which formed the ordinary conclusion of the dismal banquets at Mr. 
Osborne's house, the signal to make sad for the drawing-room was given, 
and they all arose and departed. Ameha hoped George would soon join 
them there. She began playing some of his favourite waltzes (then newly 
imported) at the great carved-legged, leather-cased grand piano in the 
drawing-room overhead. This Uttle artifice did not bring him. He was 
deaf to the waltzes ; they grew fainter and fainter ; the discomfited per- 
former left the huge instrument presently ; and though her three friends 
performed some of the loudest and most brilliant new pieces of their reper- 
toire, she did not hear a single note, but sate thinking, and boding evil. 
Old Osborne's scowl, terrific always, had never before looked so deadly to 
her. His eyes followed her out of the room, as if she had been gudty of 
something. When they brought her coffee, she started as though it were 
a cup of poison which Mr. Hicks, the butler, wished to propose to her. What 
mystery was there lurking ? Oh those women ! They nurse and cuddle 
their presentiments, and make darlings of their ugliest thoughts, as they do 
of their deformed children. 

The gloom on the paternal countenance had also impressed George 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEKO. Ill 

Osborne with anxiety. With such eyebrows, and a look so decidedly 
bilious, how was he to extract that money from the governor, of which 
George was consumedly in want ? He began praising Ms father's wine. 
That was generally a successful means of cajoling the old gentleman. 

"We never got such Madeira in the West Indies, sir, as yours. Colonel 
Heavytop took off three bottles of that you sent me down, under Ins belt 
the other day." 

" Did he? " said the old gentleman. " It stands me in eight shillings 
a bottle." 

" Will you take six guineas a dozen for it, sir ? " said George, with a 
laugh. " There 's one of the greatest men in the kingdom wants some." 

" Does he ? " growled the senior. " Wish he may get it." 

" When General Daguilet was at Chatham, sir, Heavytop gave him a 
breakfast, and asked me for some of the wine. The General liked it just 
as well — wanted a pipe for the Commander-in-Chief. He 's his Eoyal 
Highness's right-hand man." 

"It is devilish fine wine," said the Eyebrows, and they looked more 
good-humoured ; and George was going to take advantage of this com- 
placency, and bring the supply question on the mahogany ; when the 
father, relapsing into solemnity, though rather cordial in manner, bade him 
ring the bell for claret. " And we '11 see if that 's as good as the Madeira, 
George, to which Iris Eoyal Highness is welcome, I 'm sure. And as we 
are drinking it, I '11 talk to you about a matter of importance." 

Amelia heard the claret bell ringing as she sat nervously up-stairs. She 
thought, somehow, it was a mysterious and presentimental bell. Of the 
presentiments which some people are always having, some surely must 
come right. 

" What I want to know, George," the old gentleman said, after slowly 
smacking his first bumper. " What I want to know is, how you and — 
ah — that little thing up-stairs, are carrying on ? " 

" I think, sir, it 's not hard to see," George said, with a self-satisfied 
grin. " Pretty clear, sir. — What capital wine ! " 

" What d' you mean, pretty clear, sir?" 

" Why, hang it, sir, don't push me too hard. I 'm a modest man. I — 
ah — I don't set up to be a lady-killer ; but I do own that she 's as devilish 
fond of me as she can be. Any body can see that with half an eye." 

" And you yourself?" 

" Why, sir, didn't you order me to marry her, and ain't I a good boy ? 
Havn't our Papas settled it ever so long ? " 

" A pretty boy, indeed. Havn't I heard of your doings, sir, with 
Lord Tarquin, Captain Crawley of the Guards, the Honorable Mr. Deuceace 
and that set. Have a care, sir, have a care." 

The old gentleman pronounced these aristocratic names with the 
greatest gusto. Whenever he met a great man he grovelled before him, 
and my-lorded him as oidy a free-born Briton can do. He came home 
and looked out his history in the Peerage : he introduced his name into his 
daily conversation ; he bragged about his Lordship to his daughters. He 
fell down prostrate and basked in him as a Neapolitan beggar does in the 
sun. George was alarmed when he heard the names. He feared his 



112 VANITY FAIE. 



father might have been informed of certain transactions at play. But the 
old moralist eased him by saying serenely, 

" Well, well, young men will be young meu. And the comfort to me 
is, George, that living in the best society in England, as I hope you do ; 
as I think you do ; as my means will allow you to do — " 

" Thank you, sir," says George, making his point at once. " One can't 
live with these great folks for nothing ; and my purse, sir, look at it ;" 
and he held up a little token which had been netted by Amelia, and con- 
tained the very last of Dobbin's pound notes. 

" You shan't want, sir. The British merchant's son shan't want, sir. 
My guineas are as good as theirs George, my boy ; and I dont grudge 
'em. Call on Mr. Chopper as you go through the City to-morrow ; he'll 
have something for you. I dont grudge money when I know you 're in 
good society, because I know that good society can never go wrong. 
There 's no pride in me. I was a humbly bom man — -but you have had 
advantages. Make a good use of 'em. Mix with the young nobility. 
There 's many of 'em who can't spend a dollar to your guinea, my boy. 
And as for the pink bonnets (here from under the heavy eyebrows there 
came a knowing and not very pleasing leer) — why boys will be boys. 
Only there 's one thing I order you to avoid, which, if you do not, I '11 
cut you off with a shilling, by Jove ; and that's gambling, sir." 

" Oh, of course, sir," said George. 

" But to return to the other business about Amelia : why shoiddn't you 
marry higher than a stockbroker's daughter, George — that's what I want 
to know ? " 

" It 's a family business, sir," says George, cracking filberts. " You and 
Mr. Sedley made the match a hundred years ago." 

" I don't deny it ; but people's positions alter, sir. I don't deny that 
Sedley made my fortune, or rather put me in the way of acquiring, by my 
own talents and genius, that proud position, which, I may say, I occupy in 
the tallow trade and the City of London. I 've shown my gratitude to 
Sedley ; and he 's tried it of late, sir, as my check-book can show. 
George ! I tell you in confidence I don't bke the looks of Mr. Sedley's 
affairs. My chief clerk, Mr. Chopper, does not like the looks of 'em, and 
he's an old file, and knows Change as well as any man in London. 
Hulker and Bullock are looking shy at him. He 's been dabbling on his 
own account I fear. They say the Jeime Amelie was Ms, which was taken 
by the Yankee Privateer Molasses. And that 's flat, — unless I see Ameba's 
ten thousand down you don't marry her. I'll have no lame duck's 
daughter in my family. Pass the wine, sir — or ring for coffee." 

With which Mr. Osborne spread out the evening-paper, and George 
knew from this signal that the colloquy was ended, and that his Papa was 
about to take a nap. 

He hurried up stairs to Amelia in the highest spirits. What was it 
that made him more attentive to her on that night than he had been for a 
long time — more eager to amuse her, more tender, more brilliant in talk ? 
Was it that his generous heart warmed to her at the prospect of misfor- 
tune ; or that the idea of losing the dear little prize made him value it more ? 

She lived upon the recollections of that happy evening for many days 



T 



*"«. 



\ 




J 

/s"//, 



////// }/S {Us' 1 ''?//'- s/,/// //^, {//',>-/' S ^,., : 4/^Ly 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 



11? 



afterwards, remembering Lis words ; his looks ; the song 



he 



sang 



his 
attitude, as he leant over her or looked at her from a distance. As it 
seemed to her, no night ever passed so quickly at Mr. Osborne's house 
before ; and for once this young person was almost provoked to be angry 
by the premature arrival of Mr. Sambo with her shawl. 

George came and took a tender leave of her the next morning : and 
then hurried off to the City, where he visited Mr. Chopper, his father's 
head man, and received from that gentleman a document which he 
exchanged at Hulker and Bullock's for a whole pocket -full of money. As- 
George entered the house, old John Sedley was passing out of the banker's 
parlour, looking very dismal. But his godson was much too elated to 
mark the worthy stockbroker's depression, or the dreary eyes which the 
kind old gentleman cast upon him. Young Bullock did not come grinning 
out of the parlom- with him as had been his wont in former years. 

And as the swinging doors of Hulker, Bullock and Co. closed upon Mr. 
Sedley, Mr. Quill, the cashier (whose benevolent occupation it is to hand 
out crisp bank-notes from a drawer and dispense sovereigns out of a 
copper-shovel), winked at Mr. Driver, the clerk at the desk on his right. 
Mr. Driver winked again. 

" No go," Mr. D. whispered. 

" Not at no price," Mr. Q. said. " Mr. George Osborne, sir, how will 
you take it?" George crammed eagerly a quantity of notes into his 
pockets, and paid Dobbin fifty pounds that very evening at mess. 

That very evening Amelia wrote him the tenderest of long letters. Her 
heart was overflowing with tenderness, but it still foreboded evil. What 
was the cause of Mr. Osborne's dark looks ? she asked. Had any differ- 
ence arisen between him and her Papa ? Her poor Papa returned sa 
melancholy from the City, that all were alamied about him at home — in 
fine, there were four pages of loves and fears and hopes and forebodings. 

" Poor little Emmy — dear little Emmy. How fond she is of me," 
George said, as he perused the missive — " and, Gad, what a headache 
that mixed punch has given me ! " Poor little Emmy, indeed. 





CHAPTER XIV. 

MISS CRAWLEY AT HOME. 

BOUT this time there drove up to an 
exceedingly snug and well appointed 
house in Park Lane, a travelling chariot 
■with a lozenge on the panels, a dis- 
contented female in: a green veil-and 
'crimped curls on" the rumble, and a 
large and confidential man on the bos. 
It was the equipage of our friend -Miss 
Crawley, returning from Hants. 'The 
windows of the carriage were shut : 
the fat spaniel, whose head and tongue 
ordinarily lolled out of one of them, 
reposed on the lap of the discontented 
female. "When the vehicle stopped, a large round bundle of shawls was taken 
out of the carriage by the aid of various domestics and a young lady 'who 
accompanied the heap of cloaks. That bundle contained Miss Crawley, 
who was conveyed up-stairs forthwith, and put into a bed and chamber 
warmed properly as for the reception of an invalid. Messengers went off 
for her physician and medical man. They came, consixlted, prescribed, 
vanished. The young companion of Miss Crawley, at the conclusion of 
their interview, came in to receive their instructions, and administered 
those antiphlogistic medicines which the eminent men ordered. 

Captain Crawley of the Life Guards rode up from Knightsbridge Bar- 
racks the next day : his black charger pawed the straw before his invalid 
aunt's door. He was most affectionate in his inquiries regarding that 
amiable relative. There seemed to be much source of apprehension. He 
found Miss Crawley's maid (the discontented female) unusually sulky and 
despondent : he found Miss Briggs her dame de compagnie in tears alone in 
the drawing-room. She had hastened home, hearing of her beloved friend's 
illness. She wished to fly to her couch, that couch which she, Briggs, had 
so often smoothed in the hour of sickness. She was denied admission to 
Miss Crawley's' apartment. A stranger was administering her medicines 
— a stranger from the country — an odious Miss . . . tears choked the 
utterance of the dame de compagnie, and she buried her crushed affections 
and her poor old red nose in her pocket handkerchief. 

Piawdon Crawley sent up his name by the sulky femme de chambre, and 
Miss Crawley's new companion, coming tripping down from the sick- 
room, put a little hand into his as he stepped forward eagerly to meet her, 
gave a glance of great scorn at the bewildered Briggs, and, beckoning the 
young Guardsman otit of the back drawing-room, led him down stairs into 
that now desolate dining-parlour, where so many a good dinner had been 
celebrated. 



A NOYEL WITHOUT A HERO. 115 

Here these two talked for ten minutes, discussing, no doubt, the symp- 
toms of the old invalid above stairs; .at the end of which period the 
parlour-bell was rung briskly, and answered on that instant by Mr. Bowls, 
Miss Crawley's large confidential butler (who, indeed, happened to be at 
the keyhole during the most part of the interview) ; and the Captain coming 
out, curling his moustachios, moimted the black charger pawing among 
the straw- to the admiration of the little blackguard boys collected in, the 
street. He looked in at the dining-room window, managing his horse, 
which curvetted and capered beautifully — for one instant the young person 
might be seen at the window, then her figure vanished, and, doubtless, she 
went-up stairs again to resume the affecting duties of benevolence. 

Who could this young woman be, I wonder ? That evening a little 
dinner for two persons was laid in the dining-room — when Mrs. Pirkin, 
the lady's maid, pushed into her mistress's apartment, and bustled about 
there during the vacancy occasioned by the departure of the new nurse — 
and the latter and Miss Briggs sat down to the neat little meal. 

Briggs was so much choked by emotion that she could hardly take a 
morsel of meat. The young person carved a fowl with the utmost 
delicacy, and asked so distinctly for egg-sauce, that poor Briggs, before 
whom that delicious condiment was placed, started, made a great clatter- 
ing with the ladle, and once more fell back in the most gushing hysterical 
state. 

"Had you not better give Miss Briggs a glass of' wine?" said the 
person to Mr. Bowls, the large confidential man. He did so. Briggs 
seized it mechanically, gasped it down convulsively, moaned a little, and 
began to play with the chicken on her plate. 

"I think we shall be able to help each other," said the person with 
great suavity: "and shall have no need of Mr. Bowls's kind services. 
Mr. Bowls, if you please, we will ring when we want you." He went 
down stairs, where, by the way, he vented the most horrid curses upon 
the unoffending footman, his subordinate. 

" It is a pity you take on so, Miss Briggs," the young lady said, with a 
cool, slightly sarcastic, air. 

" My dearest friend is so ill, and wo — o — o — on't see me," gurgled 
out Briggs in an agony of renewed grief. 

"She's not very ill. any more. Console yourself, dear Miss Briggs. 
She has only overeaten herself — that is all. She is greatly better. She 
will soon be quite restored again. She is weak from being cupped and 
from medical treatment, but she will rally immediately. Pray console 
yourself, and take a little more wine." 

"But why, why won't she see me again?" Miss Briggs bleated out. 
" Oh, Matilda, Matilda, after three-and-twenty years' tenderness ! is this 
the return to your poor, poor Arabella ?" 

" Don't cry too much, poor Arabella," the other said (with ever so 
bttle of a grin) ; " she only won't see you, because she says you don't nurse 
her as well as I do. It 's no pleasure to me to sit up all night. I wish 
you might do it instead." 

" Have I not tended that dear couch for vears ? " Arabella said, " and 
now—" 



3 



116 VANITY FAIK. 



" Now she prefers somebody else. Well, sick people have these fancies, 
and must be humoured. When she 's well I shall go." 

" Never, never," Arabella exclaimed, madly inhaling her salts-bottle. 

"Never be well or never go? Miss Briggs," the other said, with the 
same provoking good nature. " Pooh — she will be well in a fortnight, 
when I shall go back to my little pupils at Queen's Crawley, and to their 
mother, who is a great deal more sick than our friend. You need not be 
jealous about me, my dear Miss Briggs. I am a poor little girl without 
any friends, or any harm in me. I don't want to supplant you in Miss 
Crawley's good graces. She will forget me a week after I am gone : and 
her affection for you has been the work of years. Give me a little wine 
if you please, my dear Miss Briggs, and let us be friends. I 'm sure I 
want friends." 

The placable and soft-hearted Briggs speechlessly pushed out her hand 
at this appeal ; but she felt the desertion most keenly for all that, and 
bitterly, bitterly moaned the fickleness of her Matilda. At the end of 
half an horn*, the meal over, Miss Rebecca Sharp (for such, astonishing to 
state, is the name of her who has been described ingeniously as the person 
hitherto), went up-stairs again to her patient's rooms, from which, with 
the most engaging politeness, she eliminated poor Firkin. "Thank you, 
Mrs. Firkin, that will quite do ; how nicely you make it ! I will ring 
when anything is wanted." " Thank you;" and Firkin came down stairs 
in a tempest of jealousy, only the more dangerous because she was forced 
to confine it in her own bosom. 

Could it be the tempest which, as she passed the landing of the first 
floor, blew open the drawing-room door ? No ; it was stealthily opened 
by the hand of Briggs. Briggs had been on the watch. Briggs too well 
heard the creaking Firkin descend the stairs, and the clink of the spoon 
and gruel-basin the neglected female earned. 

"Well, Firkin?" says she, as the other entered the apartment. "Well, 
Jane ?" 

" Wuss and wuss, Miss B.," Fisher said, wagging her head. 

"Is she not better then?" 

" She never spoke but once, and I asked her if she felt a little more 
easy, and she told me to hold my stupid tongue. Oh, Miss B., I never 
thought to have seen this day! " And the water-works again began to play. 

" What sort of a person is this Miss Sharp, Firkin? I little thought, 
while enjoying my Christmas revels in the elegant home of my firm friends, 
the Reverend Lionel Delamere and his amiable lady, to find a stranger had 
taken my place in the affections of my dearest, my still dearest Matilda !" 
Miss Briggs, it will be seen by her language, was of a literary and senti- 
mental turn, and had once published a volume of poems — "Trills of the 
Nightingale" — by subscription. 

" Miss B., they are all infatyated about that young woman," Firkin 
replied. " Sir Pitt wouldn't have let her go, but he daredn't refuse Miss 
Crawley anythink. Mrs. Bute at the Rectory jist as bad — never happy 
out of her sight. The Capting quite wild about her. Mr. Crawley mortial 
jealous. Since Miss C. was took ill, she won't have nobody near her but 
Miss Sharp, I. can't tell for where nor for why ; and I think some think 
has bewidged everybody." 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 117 

Eebecca passed that night in constant watching upon Miss Crawley; the 
next night the old lady slept so comfortably, that Eebecca had time for 
several hours' comfortable repose herself on the sofa, at the foot of her 
patroness's bed ; very soon, Miss Crawley was so well that she sat up 
and laughed heartily at a perfect imitation of Miss Briggs and her grief, 
which Eebecca described to her. Briggs' weeping snuffle, and her manner 
of using the handkerchief, were so completely rendered, that Miss Crawley 
became duite cheerful, to the admiration of the doctors when they visited 
her, who usually found this worthy woman of the world, when the least 
sickness attacked her, under the most abject depression and terror of death. 

Captain Crawley came every day, and received bulletins from Miss 
Eebecca respecting Iris aunt's health. This improved so rapidly, that 
poor Briggs was allowed to see her patroness ; and persons with tender 
hearts may imagine the smothered emotions of that sentimental female, 
and the affecting nature of the interview. 

Miss Crawley liked to have Briggs in a good deal soon. Eebecca used 
to mimic her to her face with the most admirable gravity, thereby ren- 
dering the imitation doubly picquante to her worthy patroness. 

The causes which had led to the deplorable illness of Miss Crawley, and 
her departure from her brother's house in the country, were of such an 
unromantic nature that they are hardly fit to be explained in this genteel 
and sentimental novel. For how is it possible to hint of a delicate female, 
living in good society, that she ate and drank too much, and that a hot 
supper of lobsters profusely enjoyed at the Eectory was the reason of an 
indisposition which Miss Crawley herself persisted was solely attributable 
to the dampness of the weather ? The attack was so sharp that Matilda — 
as his Eeverence expressed it — was very nearly " off the hooks ;" all the 
family was in a fever of expectation regarding the will, and Eawdon 
Crawley was making sure of at least forty thousand pounds before the 
commencement of the London season. Mr. Crawley sent over a choice 
parcel of tracts, to prepare her for the change from Vanity Pair and Park 
Lane for another world; but a good doctor from Southampton being 
called in in time, vanquished the lobster which was so nearly fatal to her, 
and gave her sufficient strength to enable her to return to London. The 
baronet did not disguise his exceeding mortification at the turn which 
affairs took. 

While everybody was attending on Miss Crawley, and messengers every 
horn- from the Eectory were carrying news of her health to the affectionate 
folks there, there was a lady in another part of the house, being exceedingly 
ill, of whom no one took any notice at all ; and this was the lady of 
Crawley herself. The good doctor shook his head after seeing her ; to 
which visit Sir Pitt consented, as it could be paid without a fee ; and she 
was left fading away in her lonely chamber, with no more heed paid to her 
than to a weed in the park. 

The young ladies, too, lost much of the inestimable benefit of their 
governess's instruction. So affectionate a nurse was Miss Sharp, that 
Miss Crawley would take her medicines from no other hand. Firkin had 
been deposed long before her mistress's departure from the country. That 



118 YANITY FAIE. 



faithful attendant found a gloomy consolation on returning to London, in 
seeing Miss Briggs suffer tlie same pangs of jealousy and undergo the same 
faithless treatment to which she herself had been subject. 

Captain Rawdon got an extension of leave on his aunt's illness, and 
remained dutifully at home. He was always in her antichamber. (She lay 
sick in the state bed-room, into which you entered by the little blue saloon). 
His father was always meeting him there ; or if he came down the corridor 
ever so quietly, his father's door was sure to open, and the hyaena face of 
the old gentleman to glare out. What was it set one to watch the other 
so ? A generous rivalry, no doubt, as to which should be most attentive 
to the dear sufferer in the state bed-room. Rebecca used to come out 
and comfort both of them ; or one or the other of them rather. Both of 
these worthy gentlemen were most anxious to have news of the invalid 
from her little confidential messenger. 

At dinner — to which meal she descended for half an hour — she kept the 
peace between them : after which she disappeared for the night ; when 
Eawdon would ride over to the depot of the 150th at Mudbury, leaving 
his Papa to the society of Mr. Horrocks and his rum and water. She 
passed as weary a fortnight as ever mortal spent in Miss Crawley's sick 
room; but her little nerves seemed to be of iron, and she was quite 
unshaken by the duty and the tedium of the sick-chamber. 

She never told untd long afterwards how painful that duty was ; how 
peevish a patient was the jovial old lady ; how angry ; how sleepless ; in 
what horrors of death ; during what long nights she lay moamng, and in 
almost delirious agonies respecting that future world which she quite 
ignored when she was in good health. — Picture to yourself, oh fair young 
reader, a worldly, selfish, graceless, thankless, religionless old woman, 
writhing in pain and fear, and without her wig. Picture her to yourself, 
and ere you be old, learn to love and pray ! 

Sharp watched this graceless bedside with indomitable patience. Nothing 
escaped her ; and, like a prudent steward, she found a use for everything. 
She told many a good story about Miss Crawley's illness in after days, — 
stories which made the lady blush through her artificial carnations. During 
the illness she was never out of temper ; always alert ; she slept light, ' 
having a perfectly clear conscience ; and could take that refreshment at 
almost any minute's warning. And so you saw few traces of fatigue hi 
her appearance. Her face might be a trifle paler, and the circles round 
her eyes a little blacker than usual ; but whenever she came out from the 
sick-room she was always smiling, fresh, and neat, and looked as trim in 
her little dressing-gown and cap, as in her smartest evening suit. 

The Captain thought so, and raved about her in uncouth convulsions. 
The barbed shaft of love had penetrated his dull hide. Six weeks- — appro- 
pinquity— opportunity — had victimised him completely. He made a con- 
fidante of his aunt at the Rectory, of all persons in the world. She rallied 
him about it ; she had perceived his folly ; she warned him ; she finished 
by owning that little Sharp was the most clever, droll, odd, good-natured, 
simple, kindly creature in England. Rawdon must not trifle with her 
affections, though — dear Miss Crawley would never pardon him for that ; 
for she, too, was quite overcome by the little governess, and loved Sharp 






A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 119 

like a daughter. Rawdon must go away — go back to his regiment and 
naughty London, and not play with a poor artless girl's feelings. 

Many and many a time this good-natured lady, compassionating the for- 
lorn life-guardsman's condition, gave him an opportunity of seeing Miss 
Sharp at the Eectory, and of walking home with her, as Ave have seen. 
When men of a certain sort, ladies, are in love, though they see the hook 
and the string, and the whole apparatus with which they are to be taken, 
they gorge the bait nevertheless — they must come to it — they must swallow 
it — -and are presently struck and landed gasping. Rawdon saw there was 
a manifest intention on Mrs. Bute's part to captivate him with Eebecca. 
He was not very wise ; but he was a man about town, and had seen 
several seasons. A light dawned upon his dusky soul, as he thought, 
through a speech of Mrs. Bute's. 

"Mark my words, Rawdon," she said.. " You will have Miss Sharp 
one day for your relation." 

" What relation, — my cousin, hey, Mrs. Bute ? Francis sweet on her, 
hey ? " inquired the waggish officer. 

" More than that," Mi's. Bute said, with a flash from her black eyes. ' 

" Not Pitt ? — He sha'n't have her. The sneak a'n't worthy of her. 
He 's booked to Lady Jane Sheepshanks." 

"You men perceive nothing. You silly, blind creature — if anything 
happens to Lady Crawley, Miss Sharp will be your mother-in-law ; and 
that 's what will happen." 

Rawdon Crawley, Esquire, gave vent to a prodigious whistle, in token of 
astonishment at this announcement. He couldn't deny it. His father's 
evident Uking for Miss Sharp had not escaped him. He knew the old 
gentleman's character well ; and a more unscrupulous old — whyou — he did 
not conclude the sentence, but walked home, curling his moustachios, and 
convinced he had found a clue to Mrs. Bute's mystery. 

" By Jove, it 's too bad," thought Rawdon, " too bad, by Jove ! I do 
believe the woman wants the poor girl to be ruined, in order that she 
shouldn't come into the family as Lady Crawley." 

When he saw Rebecca alone, he rallied her about his father's attachment 
in his graceful way. She flung up her head scornfully, looked 1dm full in 
the face, and said, — 

"Well, suppose he-is fond of me. I know he is, and others too. You 
don't think I am afraid of him, Captain Crawley ? You don't suppose 
I can't defend my own honour, said .the little woman," looking as stately as 
a queen. 

" 0, ah, why — give you fair warning — lookout, you know — that 's all," 
said the moustachio-twiddler. 

" You hint at something not honourable, then ? "• said she, flashing out. 

" — Gad — really — Miss Rebecca," the heavy dragoon interposed. . 

" Do you suppose I have no feeling of self-respect, because I am poor 
and friendless, and because rich people have none? Do you think, because 
I am a governess, I have not as much sense, and feeling, and good breed- 
ing as you gentle-folks in Hampshire? I'm a Montmorency. Do you 
suppose a Montmorency is not as good as a Crawley ?" 

When Miss Sharp was agitated, and alluded i to her maternal relatives, 



120 VANITY FA1K. 



she spoke with ever so slight a foreign accent, which gave a great charm to 
her clear ringing voice. " No," she continued, kindling as she spoke to 
the Captain ; " I can endure poverty, but not shame — neglect, but not 
insult; and insult from — from you." 

Her feelings gave way, and she burst into tears. 

" Hang it, Miss Sharp — Eebecca — by Jove — upon my soul, I wouldn't 
for a thousand pounds. Stop, Eebecca !" 

She was gone. She drove out with Miss Crawley that day. It was 
before the latter's illness. At dinner she was unusually brilliant and 
lively ; but she would take no notice of the hints, or the nods, or the 
clumsy expostulations of the humiliated, infatuated guardsman. Skir- 
mishes of this sort passed perpetually during the little campaign — tedious 
to relate, and similar in result. The Crawley heavy cavalry was maddened 
by defeat, and routed every day. 

If the baronet of Queen's Crawley had not had the fear of losing his sister's 
legacy before his eyes, he never would have permitted his dear girls to 
lose the educational blessings which their invaluable governess was con- 
ferring upon them. The old house at home seemed a desert without her, 
so useful and pleasant had Eebecca made herself there. Sir Pitt's letters 
were not copied and corrected ; his books not made up ; his household 
business and manifold schemes neglected, now that his little secretary was 
away. And it was easy to see how necessary such an amanuensis was to 
him, by the tenor and spelling of the numerous letters which he sent to 
her, entreating her and commanding her to return. Almost every day 
brought a frank from the baronet, enclosing the most urgent prayers to 
Becky for her return, or conveying pathetic statements to Miss Crawley, 
regarding the neglected state of his daughters' education ; of which docu- 
ments Miss Crawley took, very little heed. 

Miss Briggs was not formally dismissed, but her place as companion 
was a sinecure and a derision ; and her company was the fat spaniel in the 
drawing-room, or occasionally the discontented Eirkin in the housekeeper's 
closet. Nor, though the old lady would by no means hear of Eebecca's 
departure, was the latter regularly installed in office in Park Lane. Like 
many wealthy people, it was Miss Crawley's habit to accept as much 
service as she could get from her inferiors ; and good-naturedly to take 
leave of them when she no longer found them useful. Gratitude amongst 
certain rich folks is scarcely natural or to be thought of. They take 
needy people's services as their due. Nor have you, O poor parasite and 
humble hanger-on, much reason to complain ! Your friendship for Dives 
is about as sincere as the return which it usually gets. It is money 
you love, and not the man ; and were Crcesus and his footman to change 
places, you know, you poor rogue, who would have the benefit of your 
allegiance. 

And I am not sure, that, in spite of Eebecca's simplicity and activity, 
and gentleness and untiring good humour, the shrewd old London lady, 
upon whom these treasures of friendship were lavished, had not a lurking 
suspicion all the while of her affectionate nurse and friend. It must have 
often crossed Miss Crawley's mind that nobody does anything for nothing. 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 121 

If she measured her own feeling towards the world, she must have been 
pretty well able to gauge those of the world towards herself; and perhaps 
she reflected, that it is the ordinary lot of people to have no friends if they 
themselves care for nobody. 

Well, meanwhile Becky was the greatest comfort and convenience to 
her, and she gave her a couple of new gowns, and an old necklace and 
shawl, and shewed her friendship by abusing all her intimate acquaintances 
to her new confidante (than which there can't be a more touching proof of 
regard), and meditated vaguely some great future benefit — to marry her 
perhaps to Clump, the apothecary, or to settle her in some advantageous 
way of life ; or, at any rate, to send her back to Queen's Crawley when she 
had done with her, and the full London season had begun. 

When Miss Crawley was convalescent and descended to the drawing- 
room, Becky sang to her, and otherwise amused her; when she was 
well enough to drive out, Becky accompanied her. And amongst the 
drives which they took, whither, of all places in the world, did Miss 
Crawley's admirable good-nature and friendship actually induce her to 
penetrate, but to Eussell Square, Bloomsbury, and the house of John 
Sedley, Esquire. 

Ere that event, many notes had passed, as may be imagined, between 
the two dear friends. During the months of Kebecca' s stay in Hampshire, 
the eternal friendship had (must it be owned?) suffered considerable 
diminution, and grown so decrepit and feeble with old age as to threaten 
demise altogether. The fact is, both girls had their own real affairs to 
think of: Kebecca her advance with her employers — Amelia her own 
absorbing topic. When the two girls met, and flew into each other's arms 
with that impetuosity which distinguishes the behaviour of young ladies 
towards each other, Kebecca performed her part of the embrace with the 
most perfect briskness and energy. Poor little Amelia blushed as she 
kissed her friend, and thought she had been guilty of something very like 
coldness towards her. 

Their first interview was but a very short one. Amelia was just ready 
to go out for a walk. Miss Crawley was waiting in her carnage below, 
her people wondering at the locabty in which they found themselves, and 
gazing upon honest Sambo, the black footman of Bloomsbury, as one of 
the queer natives of the place. But when Amelia came down with her 
kind smiling looks (Kebecca must introduce her to her friend, Miss Crawley 
was longing to see her, and was too ill to leave her carriage) — when, I say, 
Amelia came down, the Park Lane shoulder-knot aristocracy wondered 
more and more that such a thing coidd come out of Bloomsbury ; and 
Miss Crawley was fairly captivated by the sweet blushing face of the young 
lady who came forward so timidly and so gracefully to pay her respects to 
the protector of her friend. 

"What a complexion, my dear. What a sweet voice ! " Miss Crawley 
said, as they drove away westward after the little interview. " My dear 
Sharp, your young friend is charming. Send for her to Park Lane, do 
you hear ? " Miss Crawley had a good taste. She liked natural manners 
— a little timidity only set them off. She liked pretty faces near her ; as 
she liked pretty pictures, and nice china. She talked of Amelia with 



122 VANITY FAIR. 



rapture lialf-a-dozen times that day. She mentioned her. to Eawdon 
Crawley, who came dutifully to partake of his aunt's chicken that day. 

Of course, on this Eebecca instantly stated, that Amelia was engaged to 
be married — to a Lieutenant Osborne — a very old flame. 

" Is he a man in a line-regiment ? " Captain Crawley asked, remember- 
ing, after an effort, as became a guardsman, the number of the regiment, 
the— th. 

Eebecca thought that was the regiment. " The Captain's name," she 
said, " was Captain Dobbin." 

" A lanky, gawkyfellow/' said Crawley, "tumbles over everybody. Iknow 
him; and Osborne's a goodish-looking fellow, with large, black whiskers? " 

"Enormous," Miss. Eebecca. Sharp said, "and enormously proud of 
them, I assure you." 

Captain Eawdon Crawley burst into a hoarse laugh by way of reply ; 
and being pressed by the ladies to explain, did so when the explosion of 
hilarity was over. "He fancies he can play at billiards," said he. "I 
won two hundred of him at the Cocoa Tree. He play, the young flat ! 
He'd have played for anything that. day, but his friend Captain Dobbin 
carried him off, hang him ! " 

"Eawdon, Eawdon, don't be so wicked," Miss Crawley remarked, 
highly pleased. 

" Why, ma'am, of all the young fellows -I 've seen out of the line, I think 
this fellow's the greenest. Tarquin and Deuceace get what money they 
like out of him. He 'd go to the deuce to be seen with a Lord. He pays 
their dinners at Greenwich, and they invite the company." 

"And very pretty company too, I dare say." 

" Quite right, Miss Sharp. Eight, as usual, Miss Sharp. Uncommon 
pretty company, — haw, haw ! " and the Gaptain laughed more and more, 
thinking he had made a good joke. 

" Eawdon, don't be naughty!" his aunt exclaimed. 

" Well, his father 's a city man — immensely rich, they say. Hang those 
city fellows, they must bleed ; and I've not done with him yet, I can tell 
you. Haw, haw ! " 

"Fie, Captain Crawley; I shall warn Amelia. A gambling husband!" 

"Horrid, ain't he, hey?" the Captain said with great solemnity; and 
then added, a sudden thought having struck him : — " Gad, I say, ma'am, 
we'll have him here." 

"Is he a presentable sort of a person?" the aunt inquired. 

" Presentable ? — oh, very- well. You wouldn't see any difference," 
Captain Crawley answered. " Do let's have him, when you begin to see 
a few people ; and his whatdyecallem — his inamorato — eh, Miss Sharp ; 
that's what you call it — comes. Gad, I'll write him a note, and have him ; 
and I'll try if he can plav picquet as well as billiards. Where does he live, 
Miss Sharp?" 

Miss Sharp told Crawley the Lieutenant's town address; and a few days 
after this conversation, Lieutenant Osborne received a letter, in Captain 
Eawdon's school-boy hand, and enclosing a note of invitation from Miss 
Crawley. _ _ . 

Eebecca despatched also an invitation. to her darling Amelia, who, you 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 123 

may be sure, was ready enough to accept it when she heard, that George 
was to be of the party. It was arranged that Amelia was to spend the 
morning with the ladies of Park Lane, where all were very kind to her. 
Bebecca patronised her with calm superiority : she was so much the 
cleverer of the two, and her friend so gentle and unassuming, that she 
always yielded when anybody chose to command, and so took Bebecea's 
orders with perfect meekness and good humour. ]\Iiss Crawley's gracious- 
ness was also remarkable. She continued her raptures about little Amelia, 
talked about her before her face as if she were a doll, or a servant, or a 
picture, and admired her with the most benevolent wonder possible. I 
admire that admiration which the genteel world sometimes extends to the 
commonalty. There is no more agreeable object in life than to see May 
Fair folks condescending. Miss Crawley's prodigious benevolence rather 
fatigued poor little Amelia, and I am not sure that of the three ladies in 
Park Lane she did not find honest Miss Briggs the most agreeable. She 
sympathised with Briggs as with all neglected or gentle people : she 
wasn't what you call a woman of spirit. 

George came to dinner — a repast en garqon with Captain Crawley. 

The great family coach of the Osbornes transported him to Park 
Lane from Bussell Square; where the young ladies, who were not 
themselves invited, and • professed the greatest indifference at that slight, 
nevertheless looked at Sir Pitt Crawley's name in the baronetage; and 
learned everything which that work had to teach about the Crawley 
family and their pedigree, and the Binkies, their relatives, &c, &c. 
Eawdon Crawley received George Osborne with great frankness and gra- 
ciousness : praised his play at billiards : asked him when he would have 
his revenge : was interested about Osborne's regiment : and would have 
proposed picquet to him that very evening, but Miss Crawley absolutely 
forbade any;/ gambling in her house ; so that the young. Lieutenant's 
purse was- not lightened by his gallant patron, for that day at least. 
However,- they made an engagement for the next, somewhere : to look at 
a horse that Crawley had to sell, and to try him in the Park ; and to dine 
together, and to pass the evening with some jolly fellows. "That is, if you 're 
not on duty to that pretty Miss Sedley," Crawley said, with a knowing 
wink. " Monstrous nice girl, 'pon my honour, though, Osborne," he was 
good enough to add. "Lots of tin, I suppose, eh?" 

Osborne wasn't on duty; he would join Crawley with pleasure : and the 
latter, when they met the next day, praised his new friend's horseman- 
ship — as he might with perfect honesty — and introduced him to three or 
four young men of the first fashion, whose acquaintance immensely elated 
the simple young officer. 

"How 's little Miss Sharp, by-the-bye," Osborne inquired of his friend 
over their wine, with a dandified air. " Good-natured little girl that. 
Does she suit you well at Queen's Crawley ? Miss Sedley liked her a 
good deal last year." 

Captain Crawley looked savagely at the Lieutenant out of his little blue 
eyes, and watched him when he went up to resume his acquaintance with 
the fair governess. Her conduct must have relieved Crawley if there was 
any jealousy in the bosom of that life-guardsman. 

When the young men went up stairs, and after Osborne's introduction to 



124 



VANITY FAIR. 



Miss Crawley, lie walked up to Eebecca with a patronising, easy swagger. 
He was going to be kind to her and- protect her. He would even shake 
hands with her, as a friend of Amelia's; and saying, "Ah, Miss Sharp! 
how-dy-doo ?" held out his left hand towards her, expecting that she 
would be quite confounded at the honour. 
Miss Sharp put out her right fore-finger — 




And gave him a bttle nod, so cool and killing, that Eawdon Crawley, 
watching the operations from the other room, coidd hardly restrain his 
laughter as he saw the Lieutenant's entire discomfiture ; the start he gave, 
the pause, and the perfect clumsiness with which he at length conde- 
scended to take the finger which was offered for his embrace. 

" She 'd beat the devil, by Jove !" the Captain said, in a rapture ; and 
the Lieutenant, by way of beginning the conversation, agreeably asked 
Eebecca how she liked her new place. 

" My place?" said Miss Sharp, coolly, "how kind of you to remind me 
of it ! It's a tolerably good place : the wages are pretty good — not so 
good as Miss Wirt's, I believe, with your sisters in Eussell Square. How 
are those young ladies ? — not that I ought to ask." 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 125 

" Why not ? " Mr. Osborne said, amazed. 

" Why, they never condescended to speak to me, or to ask me into their 
house, whilst I was staying with Amelia ; but we poor governesses, you 
know, are used to slights of this sort." 

" My dear Miss Sharp !" Osborne ejaculated. 

" At least in some families," Bebecca continued. " You can't think 
what a difference there is though. We are not so wealthy in Hampshire 
as you lucky folks of the city. But then I am in a gentleman's family — 
good old Engbsh stock. I suppose you know Sir Pitt's father refused a 
peerage. And you see how I am treated. I am pretty comfortable. 
Indeed, it is rather a good place. But how very good of you to inquire !" 

Osborne was quite savage. The Httle Governess patronised Mm and 
persiffled him until tins young British Lion felt quite uneasy; nor could he 
muster sufficient presence of mind to find a pretext for backing out of this 
most delectable conversation. 

" I thought you hked the City families pretty well," he said haughtily. 

" Last year you mean, when I was fresh from that horrid vulgar school ? 
Of course I did. Doesn't every girl like to come home for the hoHdays ? 
And how was I to know any better ? But oh, Mr. Osborne, what a dif- 
ference eighteen months' experience makes ! — eighteen months spent, 
pardon me for saying so, with gentlemen. As for dear Amelia, she, I 
grant you, is a pearl, and would be charming anywhere. There now, I 
see you are beginning to be in a good humour ; but oh these queer odd 
City people ! And Mr. Jos. — how is that wonderful Mi - . Joseph ? " 

" It seems to me you didn't dislike that wonderful Mr. Joseph last year," 
Osborne said kindly. 

" How severe of you ! Well, entre nous, I didn't break my heart about 
him ; yet if he had asked me to do what you mean by your looks (and very 
expressive and kind they are, too), I wouldn't have said no." 

Mr. Osborne gave a look as much as to say, " Indeed, how very 
obliging ! " 

" What an honour to have, had you for a brother-in-law, you are think- 
ing? To be sister-in-law to George Osborne, Esquire, son of John 
Osborne, Esquire, son of — what was your grandpapa, Mr. Osborne ? 
Well, don't be angry. You can't help your pedigree, and I quite agree 
with you that I would have married Mr. Joe Sedley ; for could a poor 
penniless girl do better ? Now you know the whole secret. I'm frank 
and open ; and, considering all things, it was very kind of you to allude 
to the circumstance — very kind and polite. Amelia dear, Mr. Osborne 
and I were talking about your poor brother Joseph. How is he ? " 

Thus was George utterly routed. Not that Kebecca was in the right ; 
but she had managed most successfully to put him in the wrong. And he 
now shamefully fled, feeling if he stayed another minute, that he would 
have been made to look foolish in the presence of Amelia. 

Though Bebecca had had the better of him, George was above the mean- 
ness of tale-bearing or revenge upon a lady, — only he coidd not help cle- 
verly confiding to Captain Crawley, next day, some notions of his regarding 
Miss Rebecca — that she was a sharp one, a dangerous one, a desperate 
flirt, &c. ; in all of which opinions Crawley agreed laughingly, and with 
every one of which Miss Bebecca was made acquainted before twenty-four 



126 VANITY FAIB. 



hours were over. They added to her original' regard for Mr.. Osborne. 
Her woman's instinct had told her, that it was George who had interrupted 
the success of her first love-passage, and she esteemed him accordingly. 

" I only just warn you," he said to Eawdon Crawley, with a knowing 
look — he had bought the horse, and lost some score of guineas after dinner, 
" I just warn you — I know women, and counsel you to be on the look-out." 

" Thank you, my boy," said Crawley, with a look of peculiar gratitude. 
" You 're wide awake, I see." And George went off, thinking Crawley 
was quite right. 

He told Amelia of what he had done, and how he had counselled- Eawdon 
Crawley — a devilish good, straight-forward fellow — to. be on. his. guard 
against that little sly, scheming Rebecca. 

" Against tohom ? " Ameha cried. 
! " Tour friend the Governess. — Don't look so astonished." 

"0 George, what have vou done ?" Amelia said. For her woman's 
eyes, which Love had made sharp-sighted, had m one instant discovered a 
secret which was invisible to Miss Crawley, to poor virgin' Briggs, and, 
above all, to the stupid peepers of that young whiskered prig, Lieutenant 
Osborne. 

For as Rebecca was shawhng her in an upper • apartment, where these 
two friends had an opportunity for a little of that secret talking and con- 
spiring which " forms the debght of female bfe, Amelia, coming up to 
Rebecca, and taking her two little hands in hers, said, " Rebecca, I see 
it all." 

Rebecca kissed her. 

And regarding this deUghtful secret, not one syllable more was said by 
either of the young women. But it was destined to come out before long. 

Some short period after the above events, and Miss Rebecca Sharp still 
remaining at her patroness's house in - Park Lane, one more hatchment 
might have been seen in Great Gaunt Street, figuring amongst the many 
which usuallyornament that dismal quarter. It was over Sir Pitt Crawley's 
house ; but it did not indicate the worthy baronet's demise. It was a 
feminine hatchment, and indeed a few years back had served as a funeral 
compbment to Sir Pitt's old mother, the late dowager lady Crawley. Its 
period of service over, the hatchment had come down from the front of the 
house, and lived in retirement somewhere in the back premises of Sir Pitt's 
mansion. It re-appeared now for poor Rose Dawson. Sir Pitt was a 
widower again. The arms quartered on the shield along with his own were 
not, to be sure, poor Rose's. She had no arms. But the cherubs painted on 
the scutcheon answered as well for her as for Sir Pitt's mother, and Resurgam 
was written under the coat, flanked by the Crawley Dove and Serpent. 
Arms and Hatchments, Resurgam. — Here is an opportunity for moralizing! 

Mr. Crawley had tended that otherwise friendless bed-side. She went out 
of the world strengthened by such words and comfort as he could give her. 
For many years his was the only kindness she ever knew ; the only friend- 
ship that solaced in any way that feeble, lonely soul. Her heart was dead 
long before her body. She had sold it to become Sir Pitt Crawley's wife. 
Mothers and daughters are making the same bargain every day in Vanity 
Fair. 



A XOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 127 

When the demise took place, her husband was in London attending to 
some of his innumerable schemes, and busy with his endless lawyers. He 
had found time, nevertheless, to call often in Park Lane, and to despatch 
many. notes to Rebecca, entreating her, enjoining her, commanding her to 
return to her young pupils in the country, who were now utterly without 
companionship during -their mother's illness. But Miss Crawley would 
not hear of her departure ; for though there was no lady of fashion in 
London who would desert her friends more complacently as soon as she 
was tired of their society, and though few tired of them sooner, yet as long 
as her engoument lasted her attachment was prodigious, and: she clung 
still with the greatest energy to Eebecca. 

The news of Lady Crawley's death provoked no more grief or comment 
than might have been expected in Miss Crawley's family ' circle. "I 
suppose I must put off my party for the 3rd," Miss Crawley said ; and 
added, after a pause, " I hope my brother will have the decency not to 
marry again." "What a confounded rage Pitt will be in if he does," 
Eawdon remarked, with his usual regard for his elder brother. Eebecca 
said nothing. She seemed by far the gravest and most impressed of the 
family. She left the room before Eawdon went away that day ; but they 
met by chance below, as he was going away after taking leave, and had a 
parley together. 

On the morrow, as Eebecca was gazing from the window, she startled 
Miss Crawley, who was placidly occupied with a French novel, by crying 
out in an alarmed tone, "Here's Sir Pitt, Ma'am!" and the baronet's 
knock followed this announcement. 

" My dear, 1 can't see him. I won't see him. Tell Bowls not at 
home, or go down stairs and say I'm too ill to receive any one. My 
nerves really won't bear my brother at this moment;" cried out Miss 
Crawley, and resumed the novel. 

" She 's too ill to see you, Sir," Eebecca said, tripping down to Sir 
Pitt, who was preparing to ascend. 

" So much the better," Sir Pitt answered. " I want to see you, Miss 
Becky. Come along a me into the parlour," and they entered that apart- 
ment together. 

"I wawnt you back at Queen's. Crawley, Miss," the baronet said, fixing 
his eyes upon her, and taking off his black gloves and his hat with its 
great crape hat-band. His eyes had such a strange look, and fixed upon 
her so stedfastly, that Eebecca Sharp began almost to tremble. 

" I hope to come soon," she said in a low voice, " as soon as Miss 
Crawley is better — and return to — to the dear children." 

" You 've said so these three months, Becky," replied Sir Pitt, " and 
still you go hanging on to my sister, who '11 fling you off like an old shoe, 
when she's wore you. out. I tell you I want you, I'm going back- to 
the Vuneral. Will you come back ? Yes or no." 

" I daren't— I don't think — it woidd be right — to be alone — with you, 
Sir," Becky said, seemingly in great agitation. 

" I say agin, I want you," Sir Pitt said, thumping the table. " I 
can't git on without you. I didn't see what it was till you went away. 
The house all goes wrong. It 's not the same place. AH my accounts 



128 



VANITY FAIR. 



has got muddled agin 



Dear 



You must come back. Do come back. 
Becky, do come." 

" Come — as what, Sir?" Rebecca gasped out.* 

" Come as Lady Crawley, if you like," the baronet said, grasping his 
crape hat. " There ! will that zatusfy you? Come back and be my wife. 
Your vit vort. Birth be hanged. You 're as good a lady as ever I see. 
You 've got more brains in your little vinger than any baronet's wife in the 
county. Will you come ? Yes or no ? " 

" Oh, Sir Pitt ! " Bebecca said, very much moved. 

" Say yes, Becky," Sir Pitt continued. " I 'm an old man, but a good 'n. 
I 'm good for twenty years. I '11 make you happy,- zee if I don't. You 
shall do what you like ; spend what you hke ; and 'av it all your own way. 
I '11 make you a zettlement. I '11 do everything reglar. Look year !" and 
the old man fell down on his knees and leered at her like a satyr. 




Kebecca started back a picture of consternation. In the course of this 
history we have never seen her lose her presence of mind ; but she did 
now, and wept some of the most genuine tears that ever fell from her 
eyes. 

" Oh, Sir Pitt!" she said. " Oh, Sir— I— I 'm married already," 



r 



CHAPTER XV. 




IN WHICH REBECCA'S HUSBAND APPEARS FOR A SHORT TIME. 

YEKY reader of a sentimental turn 
(and we desire no other) must have 
been pleased with the tableau with 
which the last act of our little drama 
concluded ; for what can be prettier 
than an image of Love on his knees 
before Beauty? 

But when Love heard that awful 
confession from Beauty that she was 
married already, he bounced up from 
his attitude of hivmility on the car- 
pet, uttering exclamations which 
caused poor little Beauty to be 
more frightened than she was when 
she made her avowal. " Married ! 
you 're joking," the Baronet cried, 
after the first explosion of rage and wonder. "You're making vun of 
me, Becky. "Who'd ever go to marry you without a shilling to your 
vortune ? " 

" Married ! married ! " Bebecca said, in an agony of tears — her voice 
choking with emotion, her handkerchief up to her ready eyes, fainting 
against the mantel-piece — a figure of woe fit to melt the most obdurate 
heart. " O Sir Pitt, dear Sir Pitt, do not think me ungrateful for all your 
goodness to me. It is only your generosity that has extorted my secret." 
" Generosity be hanged ! " Sir Pitt roared out. " Who is it tu, then, 
you 're married ? Where was it ? " 

"Let me come back with yoxi to the country, sir ! Let me watch over 
you as faithfully as ever ! Don't, don't separate me from dear Queen's 
Crawley!" 

" The feller has left you, has he ? " the Baronet said, beginning, as he 
fancied, to comprehend. " Well, Becky — come back if you like. You 
can't eat your cake and have it. Any ways I made you a vair offer. Coom 
back as governess — you shall have it all your oyn way." She held out 
one hand. She cried fit to break her heart ; her ringlets fell over her face, 
and over the marble mantel-piece where she laid it. 

" So the rascal ran off, eh ? " Sir Pitt said, with a hideous attempt at 
consolation. " Never mind, Becky, I'll take care of 'ee." 

" O Sir ! it would be the pride of my life to go back to Queen's 
Crawley, and take care of the children, and of you as formerly, when you 
said you were pleased with the services of your little Bebecca. "W hen I 

K 



130 



VANITY FAIR. 



think of what you have just offered me, my heart fills with gratitude — 
indeed it does. I can't be your wife, sir ; let me — let me be your 
daughter ! " 

Saying which, Eebecca went down on her knees in a most tragical way, 
and, taking Sir Pitt's horny black hand between her own two (which were 
very pretty and white, and as soft as satin), looked up in his face with an 
expression of exquisite pathos and confidence, when — when the door 
opened, and Miss Crawley sailed in. 

Mrs. Firkin and Miss Briggs, who happened by chance to be at the 




parlour-door soon after the Baronet and Rebecca entered the apartment, 
had also seen accidentally, through the key-hole, the old gentleman pros- 
trate before the governess, and had heard the generous proposal which he 
made her. It was scarcely out of his mouth, when Mrs. Firkin and Miss 
Briggs had streamed up the stairs, had rushed into the drawing-room where 
Miss Crawley was reading the French novel, and had given that old lady 
the astounding intelbgence that Sir Pitt was on his knees, proposing to 
Miss Sharp. And if you calculate the time for the above dialogue to take 
place — the time for Briggs and Firkin to fly to the drawing-room — the 
time for Miss Crawley to be astonished, and to drop her volume of Pigaidt 
le Brun — and the time for her to come down stairs — you will see how 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 131 

exactly accurate this history is, and how Miss Crawley must have appeared 
at the very instant when Eebecca had assumed the attitude of humility. 

" It is the lady on the ground, and not the gentleman/' Miss Crawley 
said, with a look and voice of great scorn. " They told me that you were 
on your knees, Sir Pitt : do kneel once more, and let me see this pretty 
couple ! " 

" I have thanked Sir Pitt Crawley, ma'am," Eebecca said, rising, " and 
have told him that — that I never can become Lady Crawley." 

" Eefused him ! " Miss Crawley said, more bewildered than ever. 
Briggs and Firkin at the door opened the eyes of astonishment and the 
lips of wonder. 

" Yes — refused," Eebecca contimied, with a sad, tearful voice. 

" And am I to credit my ears that vou absolutely proposed to her, Sir 
Pitt ? " the old ladv asked. 

"Ees," said the Baronet, "I did." 

* And she refused you as she says ? " 

" Ees," Sir Pitt said, his features on a broad grin. 

" It does not seem to break your heart at any rate," Miss Crawley 
remarked. 

" Nawt a bit," answered Sir Pitt, with a coolness and good-humour 
which set Miss Crawley almost mad with bewilderment. That an old gen- 
tleman of station should fall on his knees to a penniless governess, and 
burst out laughing because she refused to marry him, — that a penniless 
governess should refuse a Baronet with four thousand a year, — these were 
mysteries which Miss Crawley could never comprehend. It surpassed any 
complications of intrigue in her favourite Pigaiut le Brun. 

" I'm glad you think it good sport, brother," she continued, groping 
wildly through this amazement. 

" Yamous," said Sir Pitt. " Who'd ha' thought it ! what a sly little 
devil ! what a little fox it waws ! " he muttered to himself, chuckling with 
pleasure. 

"Who'd have thought what? " cries Miss Crawley, stamping with her 
foot. "Pray, Miss Sharp, are you waiting for the Prince Begent's 
divorce, that you don't think our family good enough for you?" 

" My attitude," Eebecca said, " when you came in, Ma'am, did not loot 
as if I despised such an honour as this good — this noble man has deigned 
to offer me. Do you think I have no heart ? Have you all loved me, and 
been so kind to the poor orphan — deserted — girl, and am I to feel nothing ? 
my friends ! my benefactors ! may not my love, my life, my duty, try 
to repay the confidence you have shown me ? Do you grudge me even 
gratitude, Miss Crawley? It is too much— my heart is too full; " and 
the sank down in a chair so pathetically, that most of the audience present 
were perfectly melted with her sadness. 

"Whether you marry me or not, you're a good little girl, Becky, and 
I'm your vriend, mind," said Sir Pitt, and putting on his crape-bound hat, 
he walked away— greatly to Eebecca's relief; for it was evident that her 
secret was unrevealed to Miss Crawley, and she had the advantage of a 
brief reprieve. 

Putting her handkerchief to her eyes, and nodding awav honest Briggs, 

k2 



132 VANITY FAIR. 



who would have followed her up-stairs, she went up to her apartment ; 
while Briggs and Miss Crawley, in a high state of excitement, remained to 
discuss the strange event, and Firkin, not less moved, dived down into the 
kitchen regions, and talked of it with all the male and female company 
there. And so impressed was Mrs. Birkin with the news, that she thought 
proper to write off by that very night's post, " with her humble duty to 
Mrs. Bute Crawley and the famly at the Bectory, and Sir Pitt has been and 
proposed for to marry Miss Sharp, wherein she has refused him to the 
wonder of all." 

The two ladies in the dining-room (where worthy Miss Briggs was 
delighted to be admitted once more to a confidential conversation with her 
patroness) wondered to their hearts' content at Sir Pitt's offer, and Bebecca's 
refusal ; Briggs very acutely suggesting that there must have been some 
obstacle in the shape of a previous attachment, otherwise no young woman 
in her senses would ever have refused so advantageous a proposal. 

"You would have accepted it yourself, wouldn't you, Briggs?" Miss 
Crawley said, kindly. 

" Would it not be a privilege to be Miss Crawley's sister ? " Briggs 
replied, with meek evasion. 

" Well, Becky would have made a good Lady Crawley, after all," Miss 
Crawley remarked, (who was mollified by the girl's refusal, and very liberal 
and generous now there was no call for her sacrifices.) " She has brains in 
plenty (much more wit in her little finger than you have my poor dear 
Briggs in all your head.) Her manners are excellent now I have formed 
her. She is a Montmorency, Briggs, and blood is something, though I 
despise it for my part ; and she would have held her own amongst those 
pompous stupid Hampshire people much better than that unfortunate 
ironmonger's daughter." 

Briggs coincided as usual, and the "previous attachment" was then 
discussed in conjectures. " You poor friendless creatures are always 
having some foolish tendre" Miss Crawley said. "You yourself, you 
know, were in love with a writing master (don't cry, Briggs — you're 
always crying, and it won't bring him to Life again), and I suppose this 
unfortunate Becky has been silly and sentimental too — some apothecary, 
or house-steward, or painter, or young curate, or something of that sort." 

" Poor thing, poor thing ! " says Briggs (who was thinking of twenty- 
four years back, and that hectic young writing master whose lock of 
yellow hair, and whose letters, beautiful in their illegibility, she cherished 
in her old desk up stairs.) " Poor thing, poor thing ! " says Briggs. 
Once more she was a fresh-cheeked lass of eighteen ; she was at evening 
church and the hectic writing master and she were quavering out of the 
same psalm-book. 

" After such conduct on Bebecca's part," Miss Crawley said enthusiastic- 
ally, " our family should do something. Bind out who is the objet, 
Briggs. I '11 set him up in a shop ; or order my portrait of him, you 
know ; or speak to my cousin the Bishop — and I '11 doter Becky, and we'll 
have a wedding, Briggs, and you shall make the breakfast, and be a brides' 
maid." 

Briggs declared that it would be delightful, and vowed that her dear 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 133 

Miss Crawley was always kind and generous, and went up to Eebecca' s 
bed-room to console her and prattle about the offer, and the refusal, and 
the cause thereof; and to hint at the generous intentions of Miss Crawley, 
and to find out who was the gentleman that had the mastery of Miss 
Sharp's heart. 

Eebecca was very kind, very affectionate and affected — responded to 
Briggs' offers of tenderness with grateful fervour — owned there was a 
secret attachment — a delicious mystery — what a pity Miss Briggs had not 
remained half a minute longer at the key-hole ! Eebecca might, perhaps, 
have told more : but five minutes after Miss Briggs' arrival in Eebecca's 
apartment, Miss Crawley actually made her appearance there — an unheard 
of honour ; — her impatience had overcome her ; she could not wait for the 
tardy operations of her ambassadress : so she came in person, and ordered 
Briggs out'of the room. And expressing her approval of Eebecca's con- 
duct, she asked particulars of the interview and the previous transactions 
which had brought about the astonishing offer of Sir Pitt. 

Eebecca said she had long had some notion of the partiality with 
which Sir Pitt honoured her, (for he was in the habit of making his feelings 
known in a very frank and unreserved manner) but, not to mention private 
reasons with which she would not for the present trouble Miss Crawley, 
Sir Pitt's age, station, and habits were such as to render a marriage quite 
impossible ; and could a woman with any feeling of self-respect and any 
decency hsten to proposals at such a moment, when the funeral of the 
lover's deceased wife had not actually taken place ? 

" Nonsense, my dear, you would never have refused him had there not 
been some one else in the case," Miss Crawley said, coming to her point 
at once. "Tell me the private reasons ; what are the private reasons? 
There is some one ; who is it that has touched your heart ?" 

Eebecca cast down her eyes, and owned there was. " Tou have guessed 
right, dear Lady," she said with a sweet simple faltering voice. " Tou 
wonder at one so poor and friendless having an attachment, don't you ? 
I have never heard that poverty was any safeguard against it. I wish it 
were." 

" My poor dear child," cried Miss Crawley, who was always quite ready 
to be sentimental, " Is our passion unrequited, then ? Are we pining 
in secret ? Tell me all, and let me console you." 

" I wish you could, dear Madam," Eebecca said in the same tearful 
tone. " Indeed, indeed I need it." And she laid her head upon Miss 
Crawley's shoulder and wept there so naturally that the old lady, surprised 
into sympathy, embraced her with an almost maternal kindness, uttered 
many soothing protests of regard and affection for her, vowed that she 
loved her as a daughter, and would do everything in her power to serve 
her. And now who is it, my dear? Is it that pretty Miss Sedley's 
brother ? You said something about an affair with him. I '11 ask him 
here, my dear. And you shall have him : indeed you shall." 

" Don't ask me now," Eebecca said. " You shall know all soon. Indeed 
you shall. Dear kind Miss Crawley — Dear friend, may I say so ? " 

" That you may, my child," the old lady replied, kissing her. 

"I can't tell you now," sobbed out Eebecca, "I am very miserable. 



134 VANITY FAIK. 



But ! love me always — promise you will love me always." And in the 
midst of mutual tears — for the emotions of the younger woman had 
awakened the sympathies of the elder — this promise was solemnly 
given by Miss Crawley, who left her little protegee, blessing and admir- 
ing her as a dear, artless, tender-hearted, affectionate, incomprehensible 
creature. 

And now she was left alone to think over the sudden and wonderful 
events of the day, and of what had been and what might have been. 
What think you were the private feelings of Miss, no, (begging her pardon) 
of Mrs. Eebecca? If, a few pages back, the present writer claimed 
the privilege of peeping into Miss Amelia Sedley's bed-room, and under- 
standing with the omniscience of the novelist all the gentle pains and 
passions which were tossing upon that innocent pillow, why should he 
not declare himself to be Eebecca' s confidante too, master of her secrets, 
and seal-keeper of that young woman's conscience ? 

Well then, in the first place, Eebecca gave way to some very sincere 
and touching regrets that a piece of marvellous good fortune should have 
been so near her, and she actually obbged to decline it. In this natural 
emotion every properly regulated mind will certainly share. What good 
mother is there that woidd not commiserate a penniless spinster, who 
might have been my lady, and have shared four thousand a year ? What 
well-bred young person is there in all Yanity Fair, who will not feel for a 
hard-working, ingenious, meritorioiis girl, who gets such an honourable, 
advantageous, provoking offer, just at the very moment when it is out of 
her power to accept it ? I am sure our friend Becky's disappointment 
deserves and will command every sympathy. 

I remember one night being in the Pair myself, at an evening party. 
I observed old Miss Toady there also present, single out for her special 
attentions and flattery little Mrs. Briefless, the barrister's wife, who 
is of a good family certainly, but, as we all know, is as poor as poor 
can be. 

What, I asked in my own mind, can cause this obsequiousness on the 
part of Miss Toady ; has Briefless got a county court, or has his wife had 
a fortune left her ? Miss Toady explained presently, with that simplicity 
which distinguishes all her conduct. 'You know, she said, Mrs. Briefless 
is granddaughter of Sir John Eedhand, who is so ill at Cheltenham that 
he can't last six months. Sirs. Briefless's papa, succeeds ; so you see she 
will be a baronet's daughter.' And Toady asked Briefless and his wife to 
dinner the very next week. 

If the mere chance of becoming a baronet's daughter can procure a lady 
such homage in the world, surely, surely we may respect the agonies of a 
young woman who has lost the opportunity of becoming a baronet's wife. 
Who would have dreamed of Lady Crawley dying so soon? She was 
one of those sickly women that might have lasted these ten years — Eebecca 
thought to herself, in all the woes of repentance — and I might have 
been my lady ! I might have led that old man whither I would. I might 
have thanked Mrs. Bute for her patronage, and Mr. Pitt for his insufferable 
condescension. I would have had the town-house newly furnished and 
decorated. I would have had the handsomest carriage in London, and a 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 135 

bos at the Opera ; and I would Lave been presented next season. All 
this might have been ; but now — now all was doubt and mystery. 

But Rebecca was a young lady of too much resolution and energy of 
character to permit herself much useless and unseemly sorrow for the 
irrevocable past ; so, having devoted only the proper portion of regret to 
it, she wisely turned her whole attention towards the future, which was 
now vastly more important to her. And she surveyed her position, and 
its hopes, doubts, and chances. 

In the first place, she was married; — that was a great fact. Sir Pitt 
knew it. She was not so much surprised into the avowal, as induced to 
make it by a sudden calculation. It must have come some day ; and why 
not now as at a later period ? He who would have married her himself 
must at least be silent with regard to her marriage. But how Miss 
Crawley would bear the news — was the great question. Misgivings 
Bebecca had ; but she remembered all ]\liss Crawley had said ; the old 
lady's avowed contempt for birth; her daring liberal opinions; her general 
romantic propensities ; her almost doting attachment to her nephew, and 
her repeatedly-expressed fondness for Bebecca herself. She is so fond of 
him, Bebecca thought, that she will forgive him anything : she is so used 
to me that I don't think she could be comfortable without me : when 
the eclair cissement comes there will be a scene, and hysterics, and a great 
quarrel, and then a great reconciliation. At all events, what use was 
there in delaying ? the die was thrown, and now or to-morrow the issue 
must be the same. And so, resolved that jMiss Crawley should have the 
news, the young person debated in her mind as to the best means of 
conveying it to her; and whether she shoidd face the storm that must 
come, or fly and avoid it until its first fury was blown over. In this state 
of meditation she wrote the following letter : — 

Dearest Friend, — The great crisis which we have debated about so 
often is come. Half of my secret is known, and I have thought and 
thought, until I am quite sure that now is the time to reveal the whole of 
the mystery. Sir Pitt came to me this morning, and made — what do you 
think ? — a declaration in form. Think of that ! Poor little me. I might 
have been lady Crawley. How pleased Mrs. Bute would have been; and 
ma tante if I had taken precedence of her ! I might have been somebody's 
mamma, instead of — 0, I tremble, I tremble, when I think how soon we 
must tell all ! — • 

Sir Pitt knows I am married, and not knowing to whom, is not very 
much displeased as yet. Ma tante is actually angry that I shoidd have 
refused Mm. But she is all kindness and graciousness. She condescends 
to say I would have made him a good wife ; and vows that she will be a 
mother to yom* little Bebecca. She will be shaken when she first hears 
the news. But need we fear anything beyond a momentary anger ? I 
think not : I am sure not. She dotes upon you so (you naughty, good- 
for-nothing man), that she would pardon you anything: and, indeed, 
I believe, the next place in her heart is mine : and that she would be 
miserable without me. Dearest ! something tells me we shall conquer. 
You shall leave that odious regiment : quit gaming, racing, and be a good 



136 



VAKITY FAIK. 



boy ; and we shall all live in Park Lane : and ma tante shall leave us all 
her money. 

I shall try and walk to-morrow at 3 in the usual place. If Miss B. 
accompanies me, you must come to dinner, and bring an answer, and put 
it in the third volume of Porteus's Sermons. But, at all events, come to 
your own. • B. 

To Miss Eliza Styles, 

At Mr. Barnet's, Saddler, Knightsbridge. 

And I trust there is no reader of this little story who has not discern- 
ment enough to perceive that the Miss Eliza Styles (an old schoolfellow, 
Bebecca said, with whom she had resumed an active correspondence of 
late) and who used to fetch these letters from the saddler's, wore brass 
spurs, and large curling mustachios, and was indeed no other than 
Captain Bawdon Crawley. : 



' i , 'iillil'j!fi 

i. I! ,»; i 




CHAPTER XVI. 

THE LETTER ON THE PINCUSHION. 

OW they were married is not of 
the slightest consequence to any 
body. What is to hinder a Captain 
who is a major, and a young lady 
who is of age, from purchasing a 
license, and uniting themselves at 
any church in this town ? Who 
needs to be told, that if a woman 
has a will, she will assuredly find 
a way ? — My belief is, that one 
day, when Miss Sharp had gone 
to pass the forenoon with her 
dear friend Miss Amelia Sedley, 
in Russell-square, a lady very like 
her might have been seen enter- 
ing a church in the city, in com- 
pany with a gentleman with dyed 
mustachoes, who, after a quarter 
of an hour's interval, escorted her 
back to the hackney-coach in 
waiting, and that this was a quiet 
bridal party. 

And who on earth, after the daily experience we have, can question the 
probability of a gentleman marrying any body ? How many of the wise 
and learned have married their cooks ? Did not Lord Eldon himself, the 
most prudent of men, make a run-away match ? Were not Achilles and 
Ajax both in love with their servant maids ? And are we to expect a 
heavy dragoon with strong desires and small brains, who had never con- 
trolled a passion in his life, to become prudent all of a sudden, and to 
refuse to pay any price for an indulgence to which he had a mind ? If 
people only made prudent marriages, what a stop to population there 
would be ! 

It seems to me, for my part, that Mr. Rawdon's marriage Avas one of 
the honestest actions which we shall have to record in any portion of that 
gentleman's biography which has to do with the present history. No one 
will say it is unmanly to be captivated by a woman, or, being captivated, 
to marry her ; and the admiration, the delight, the passion, the wonder, 
the unbounded confidence, and frantic adoration with which, by degrees, 
this big warrior got to regard the little Rebecca, were feelings which the 
ladies at least will pronounce were not altogether discreditable to him. 




138 VANITY FAIR. 



When she sang, every note thrilled in his dull soul, and tingled through 
his huge frame. When she spoke, he brought all the force of his brains 
to listen and wonder. If she was jocular, he used to revolve her jokes in 
his mind, and explode over them half an hour afterwards in the street, 
to the surprise of the groom in the tilbury by his side, or the comrade 
riding with him in Botten Eow. Her words were oracles to him, her 
smallest actions marked by an infallible grace and wisdom. " How she 
sings, — how she paints," thought he. " How she rode that kicking mare 
at Queen's Crawley ! " And he would say to her in confidential moments, 
" By Jove, Beck, you're fit to be Commander-in-Chief, or Archbishop of 
Canterbury, by Jove." Is his case a rare one ? and don't we see every 
day in the world many an honest Hercules at the apron-strings of Omphale, 
and great whiskered Samsons prostrate in Dalilah's lap ? 

When, then, Beckey told him that the great crisis was near, and the 
time for action had arrived, Bawdon expressed himself as ready to act 
under her orders, as he would be to charge with his troop at the command 
of his colonel. There was no need for him to put his letter into the third 
volume of Porteus. Eebecca easily found a means to get rid of Briggs, 
her companion, and met her faithful friend in " the usual place" on the next 
day. She had thought over matters at night, and communicated to Baw- 
don the result of her determinations. He agreed, of course, to every 
thing ; was quite sure that it was all right ; that what she proposed was 
best ; that Miss Crawley would infallibly relent, or " come round," as he 
said, after a time. Had Bebecca's resolutions been entirely different, he 
would have followed them as implicitly. " You have head enough for 
both of us, Beck," said he. " You're sure to get us out of the scrape. I 
never saw your equal, and I've met with some clippers in my time too." 
And with this simple confession of faith, the love-stricken dragoon left her 
to execute his part of the project which she had formed for the pah-. 

It consisted simply in the hiring of quiet lodgings at Brompton, or in 
the neighbourhood of the barracks, for Captain and Mrs. Crawley. Bor 
Eebecca had determined, and very prudently, we think, to fly. Bawdon 
was only too happy at her resolve ; he had been entreating her to take this 
measure any time for weeks past. He pranced off to engage the lodgings 
with all the impetuosity of love. He agreed to pay two guineas a week so 
readily, that the landlady regretted she had asked him so little. He 
ordered in a piano, and half a nursery house full of flowers, and a heap of 
good things. As for shawls, kid gloves, silk stockings, gold Brench 
watches, bracelets and perfumery, he sent them in Avith the profusion of 
blind love and unbounded credit. And having rebeved his mind by this 
outpouring of generosity, he went and dined nervously at the club, waiting 
until the great moment of his life should come. 

The occurrences of the previous day ; the admirable conduct of Eebecca 
in refusing an offer so advantageous to her, the secret unhappiness preying 
upon her, the sweetness and silence with which she bore her affliction, 
made Miss Crawley much more tender than usual. An event of this 
nature, a marriage, or a refusal, or a proposal, thrills thx*ough a whole 
houseful of women, and sets all their hysterical sympathies at work. As 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 139 



an observer' of human nature, I regularly frequent St. George's, Hanover 
Square, during the genteel marriage season ; and though I have never seen 
the bridegroom's male friends give way to tears, or the beadles and offici- 
ating clergy any way affected, yet it is not at all uncommon to see women 
who are not in the least concerned in the operations going on — old ladies 
who are long past marrying, stout middle-aged females with plenty of sons 
and daughters, let alone pretty young creatures in pink bonnets, who are 
on their promotion, and may naturally take an interest in the ceremony, — I 
say it is quite common to see the women present piping, sobbing, sniffling, 
hiding their little faces in then little useless pocket-handkerchiefs, and 
heaving old and young with emotion. When my friend, the fashionable 
John Pimlico, married the lovely Lady Belgravia Green Parker, the emo- 
tion was so general, that even the little snuffy old pew-opener who let me 
into the seat, was in tears. And wherefore ? I enquired of my own soul > 
$7ie was not going to be married. 

Miss Crawley and Briggs in a word, after the affair of Sir Pitt, indidged 
in the utmost luxury of sentiment, and Eebecca became an object of the 
most tender interest to them. In her absence Miss Crawley solaced her- 
self with the most sentimental of the novels in her library. Little Sharp, 
with her secret griefs, was the heroine of the day. 

That night Eebecca sang more sweetly and talked more pleasantly than 
she had ever been heard to do in Park Lane. She twined herself round 
the heart of Miss Crawley. She spoke lightly and laughingly of Sir Pitt's 
proposal, ridiculed it as the foolish fancy of an old man ; and her eyes filled 
with tears, and Briggs's heart with unutterable pangs of defeat, as she 
said she desired no other lot than to remain for ever with her dear bene- 
factress. " My dear little creature," the old lady said, " I don't intend to 
let you stir for years, that you may depend upon it. As for going back 
to that odious- brother of mine after what has passed, it is out of the ques- 
tion. Here you stay with me and Briggs. Briggs wants to go to see 
her relations very often. Briggs, you may go when you like. But as for 
you, my dear, you must stay and take care of the old woman." 

If Eawdon Crawley had been then and there present, instead of being 
at the club nervously drinking claret, the pair might have gone down on 
their knees before the old spinster, avowed all, and been forgiven in a 
twinkling. But that good chance was denied to the young couple, doubt- 
less in order that this story might be written, in which numbers of their 
wonderful adventures are narrated — adventures which covdd never have 
occurred to them if they had been housed and sheltered under the com- 
fortable uninteresting forgiveness of Miss Crawlev. 

Under Mrs. Firkin's orders, in the Park Lane establishment, was a young 
woman from Hampshire, whose business it was, among other duties, to 
knock at Miss Sharp's door with that jug of hot water, which Firkin 
would rather have perished than have presented to the intruder. This 
girl, bred on the family estate, had a brother in Captain Crawley's troop, 
and if the truth were known, I daresay it would come out that she was 
aware of certain arrangements, which have a great deal to do with this 
history. At any rate she purchased a yellow shawl, a pair of green boots, 



140 ' VANITY FAIR. 



and a light blue hat with a red feather, with three guineas which Rebecca 
gave her, and as little Sharp was by no means too liberal with her money, 
no doubt it was for services rendered that Betty Martin was so bribed. 

On the second day after Sir Pitt Crawley's offer to Miss Sharp, the sun 
rose as usual, and at the usual hour Betty Martin, the upstairs maid, 
knocked at the door of the governess's bed-chamber. . 

ISTo answer was returned, and she knocked again. Silence was still 
uninteiTupted ; and Betty, with the hot water, opened the door and en- 
tered the chamber. 

The little white dimity bed was as smooth and trim as on the day previous- 
when Betty's own hands had helped to make it. Two little trunks were 
corded in one end of the room ; and on the table before the window — on 
the pincushion — the great fat pincushion lined with pink inside, and twilled 
like a lady's nightcap 1 — lay a letter. : It had been reposing there probably 
all night. 

Betty advanced towards it" on tiptoe, as if she were afraid to awake it — 
looked at it, and round the room with an air of great wonder and satisfac- 
tion, took up the letter, and grinned intensely as she turned it round and 
over, and finally carried it in to Miss Briggs's room below. 

How could Betty tell that the letter was for Miss Briggs, I should like 
to know ? All the schooling Betty had was at Mrs. Bute Crawley's Sun- 
day School, and she coidd no more read writing than Hebrew. 

" La, Miss Briggs," the girl exclaimed, " 0, Miss, something must have 
happened — there's nobody in Miss Sharp's room ; the bed aint been slep 
in, and she 've run away, and left this letter for you, Miss." 

" What ! " cries Briggs, dropping her comb, the thin wisp of faded 
hair falling over her shoulders ; " an elopement ! Miss Sharp a fugitive L 
"What, what is this ? " and she eagerly broke the neat seal, and, as they 
say, " devoured the contents " of the letter addressed to her. 

" Dear Miss Briggs," the refugee wrote, " the kindest heart in the world 
as yours is, will pity aud sympathise with me and excuse me. "With tears, 
and prayers, and blessings, I leave the home where the poor orphan has 
ever met with kindness and affection. Claims even superior to those 
of my benefactress call me hence. I go to my duty — to my husband. Yes, 
I am married. My husband commands me to seek the humble home which 
we call ours. Dearest Miss Briggs, break the news as your delicate sym- 
pathy will know how to do it— to my dear, my beloved friend and bene- 
factress. Tell her, ere I went, I shed tears on her dear pillow — that pillow 
that I have so often soothed in sickness — that I long again to watch — Oh, 
with what joy shall I return to dear Park Lane ! How I tremble for the 
answer which is to seal my fate ! "When Sir Pitt deigned to offer me his 
hand, an honour of which my beloved Miss Crawley said I was deserving, 
(my blessings go with her for judging the poor orphan worthy to be her 
sister !), I told Sir Pitt that I was already a icife. Even he forgave me. 
But my courage failed me, when I should have told him all — that I could not. 
be his wife, for I was his daughter ! I am wedded to the best and most gene- 
rous of men — Miss Crawley's Kawdon is my Eawdon. At his command I 
open my lips, and follow him to our humble home, as I would through the 




// 



/ 



S"/~r~ C-y^ S/t' 






A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 141 

world. O, my excellent and kind friend, intercede with my Bawdon's 
beloved aunt for him and the poor girl to whom all his noble race have 
shown such unparalleled affection. Ask Miss Crawley to receive her chil- 
dren. I can say no more, but blessings, blessings on all in the dear house 
I leave, prays 

" Your affectionate and grateful, 
" Midnight." " Eebecca Crawley." 

Just as Briggs had finished reading this affecting and interesting docu- 
ment, which reinstated her in her position as first confidante of Miss Craw- 
ley, Mrs. Firkin entered the room. " Here 's Mrs. Bute Crawley just 
arrived by the mail from Hampshire, and wants some tea, will you come 
down and make breakfast, Miss ? " 

And to the surprise of Firkin, clasping her dressing-gown around her, 
the wisp of hair floating dishevelled behind her, the little curl-papers still 
sticking in bunches round her forehead, Briggs sailed down to Mrs. Bute 
with the letter in her hand containing the wonderful news. 

" Oh, Mrs. Firkin," gasped Betty, " sech a business. Miss Sharp 
have a gone and run away with the Capting, and they're off to Gretny 
Green ! " We would devote a chapter to describe the emotions of Mrs. 
Firkin, did not the passions of her mistresses occupy our genteeler muse. 

When Mrs. Bute Crawley, numbed with midnight travelling, and warm- 
ing herself at the newly crackling parlour fire, heard from Miss Briggs the 
intelligence of the clandestine marriage, she declared it was quite provi- 
dential that she should have arrived at such a time to assist poor dear 
Miss Crawley in supporting the shock — that Eebecca was an artful little 
hussy of whom she had always had her suspicions ; and that as for 
Eawdon Crawley, she never could account for his aunt's infatuation regard- 
ing him, and had long considered him a profligate, lost, and abandoned 
being. And this awful conduct, Mrs. Bute said, will have at least this 
good effect, it will open poor dear Miss Crawley's eyes to the real cha- 
racter of this wicked man. Then Mrs. Bute had a comfortable hot toast 
and tea ; and as there was a vacant room in the house now, there was 
no need for her to remain at the Gloster Coffee House where the Portsmouth 
mail had set her down, and whence she ordered Mr. Bowls's aide-de-camp 
the footman to bring away her trunks. 

!Miss Crawley, be it known, did not leave her room until near noon — 
taking chocolate in bed in the morning, while Becky Sharp read the 
Morning Post to her, or otherwise amusing herself or dawdling. The 
conspirators below agreed that they would spare the dear lady's feelings 
until she appeared in her drawing-room : meanwhile it was announced to 
her, that Mrs. Bute Crawley had come up from Hampshire by the mail, 
was staying at the Gloster, sent her love to Miss Crawley, and asked for 
breakfast with Miss Briggs. The arrival of Mrs. Bute, which w r ould not 
have caused any extreme delight at another period, was hailed with plea- 
sure now ; Miss Crawley being pleased at the notion of a gossip with her 
sister-in-law regarding the late Lady Crawley, the funeral arrangements 
pending, and Sir Pitt's abrupt proposals to Eebecca. 



142 VANITY FAIR. 



It was not until the old lady was fairly ensconced in her usual arm- 
chair in the drawing-room, and the preliminary embraces and inquiries 
had taken place between the ladies, that the conspirators thought it advis- 
able to submit her to the operation. Who has not admired the artifices 
and delicate approaches with which women " prepare " their friends for 
bad news ? Miss Crawley's two friends made such an apparatus of mys- 
tery before they broke the intelligence to her, that they worked her up to 
the necessary degree of doubt and alarm. 

" And she refused Sir Pitt, my dear dear Miss Crawley, prepare your- 
self for it," Mrs. Bute said, " because — because she couldn't help herself." 

"Of coarse there was a reason," Miss Crawley answered. "She liked 
somebody else. I told Briggs so yesterday." 

" Likes somebody else ! " Briggs gasped. " my dear friend, she is 
married already." 

"Married already," Mrs. Bute chimed in; and both sate with clasped 
hands looking from each other at their victim. 

" Send her to me, the instant she comes in. The little sly wretch : how 
dared she not tell me ? " cried out Miss Crawley. 

"She won't come in soon. Prepare yourself, dear friend — she 's gone 
out for a loug time — she 5 s — she 's gone altogether." 

" Gracious goodness, and who 's to make my chocolate ? Send for her 
and have her back ; I desire that she come back," the old lady said. 

" She decamped last night, Ma'am," cried Mrs. Bute. 

" She left a letter for me," Briggs exclaimed. " She 's married to — " 

" Prepare her, for heaven's sake. Don't torture her, my dear Miss 
Briggs." 

" She's married to whom?" cries the spinster in a nervous fury. 

" To— to a relation of ". 

" She refused Sir Pitt," cried the victim. " Speak at once. Don't 
drive me mad." 

"O Ma'am — prepare her, Miss Briggs — she's married to Bawdon 
Crawley." 

" Bawdon married — Bebecca — governess — nobod — Get out of my 
house, you fool, you idiot — you stupid old Briggs — how dare you? 
You 're in the plot — you made him marry, thinking that I 'd leave my 
money from him — you did, Martha," the poor old lady screamed in 
hysteric sentences. 

"I, Ma'am, ask a member of this family to marry a drawing-master's 
daughter?" 

"Her mother was' a Montmorency," cried out the old lady, pulling at 
the bell with all her might. 

" Her mother was an opera girl, and she has been on the stage or 
worse herself," said Mrs. Bute. 

Miss Crawley gave a final scream, and fell back in a faint. They were 
forced to take her back to the room which she had just quitted. One fit 
of hysterics succeeded another. The doctor was sent for — the apothecary 
arrived. Mrs. Bute took up the post of nurse by her bedside. " Her 
relations ought to be round about her," that amiable woman said. 

She had scarcely been carried up to her room, when a new person 



A NOYEL WITHOUT A HERO. 143 

arrived to whom it was also necessary to break the news. This was Sir 
Pitt. "Where's Becky?" he said, coming in. "Where's her traps? 
She's coming with me to Queen's Crawlev." 

" Have you not heard the astonishing intelligence regarding her surrep- 
titious union? " Briggs asked. 

" What 's that to me ? " Sir Pitt asked. " I know she 's married. That 
makes no odds. Tell her to come down at once, and not keep me." 

"Are you not aware, Sir," Miss Briggs asked, "that she has left our 
roof, to the dismay of Miss Crawley, who is nearly killed by the intelli- 
gence of Captain Kawdon's union with her ? " 

When Sir Pitt Crawley heard that Eebecca was married to his son, he 
broke out into a fury of language, which it woidd do no good to repeat in 
this place, as indeed it sent poor Briggs shuddering out of the room ; and 
with her we will shut the door upon the figure of the frenzied old man, 
wild with hatred and insane with baffled desire. 

One day after he went to Queen's Crawley, he burst like a madman 
into the room she had used when there — dashed open her boxes with his 
foot, and flung about her papers, clothes, and other relics. Miss Horrocks, 
the butler's daughter, took some of them. The children dressed them- 
selves and -acted plays in the others. It was but a few days after the 
poor mother had gone to her lonely burying-place ; and was laid, unwept 
and disregarded, in a vault full of strangers. 

" Suppose the old lady doesn't come to," Kawdon said to his little wife, 
as they sate together in the snug little Brompton lodgings. She had been 
trying the new piano all the morning. The new gloves fitted her to a 
nicety ; the new shawls became her wonderfully ; the new rings guttered on 
her little hands, and the new watch ticked at her waist; "suppose she 
don't come round, eh, Becky ? " 

"I'll make your fortune," she said; and Dalilah patted Samson's 
cheek. 

"Tou can do anything," he said, kissing the little hand. "By, Jove, 
you can ; and we '11 drive down to the Star and Garter, and dine, by Jove." 




CHAPTER XVII. 

HOW CAPTAIN DOBBIN BOUGHT A PIANO. 

~E there is any exhibition in all Vanity Fair which 
Satire and Sentiment can visit arm in arm to- 
gether ; where you light on the strangest con- 
trasts laughable and tearful : where you may be 
gentle and pathetic, or savage and cynical with 
perfect propriety : it is at one of those public 
assemblies, a crowd of which are advertised every 
day in the last page of the Times newspaper, 
and over which the late Mr. George Robins used 
to preside with so much dignity. There are 
very few London people, as I fancy, who have 
not attended at these meetings, and all with a 
taste for moralizing must have thought, with a 
sensation and interest not a little startling and 
queer, of the day when their tuna shall come too, and Mr. Hammerdown 
will sell by the orders of Diogenes's assignees, or will be instructed by 
the executors, to offer to public competition, the library, furniture, plate, 
wardrobe, and choice cellar of wines of Epicurus deceased. 

Even with the most selfish disposition, the Yanity-fairian, as he wit- 
nesses this sordid part of the obsequies of a departed friend, can't but feel 
some sympathies and regret. My Lord Dives's remains are in the family 
vault : the statuaries are cutting an inscription veraciously commemorating 
his virtues, and the sorrows of his heir, who is disposing of his goods. 
What guest at Dives's table can pass the familiar house without a sigh ? — 
the familiar house of which the lights use to shine so cheerfully at seven 
o'clock, of which the hall-doors opened so readily, of which the obsequious 
servants, as you passed up the comfortable stair, sounded your name from 
landing to landing, until it reached the apartment where jolly old Dives 
welcomed his friends ! What a number of them he had ; and what a 
noble way of entertaining them. How witty people used to be here who 
were morose when they got out of the door ; and how courteous and 
friendly men who slandered and hated each other every where else ! He was 
pompous, but with such a cook what would one not swallow ? he was rather 
dull, perhaps, but would not such wine make any conversation pleasant ? 
We must get some of his Burgundy at any price, the mourners cry at his 
club. " I got this box at old Dives's sale," Pincher says, handing it round, 
" one of Louis XV.'s mistresses — pretty thing, is it not — sweet miniature," 
and they talk of the way in which young Dives is dissipating his fortune. 
How changed the house is, though ! The front is patched over with 
bills, setting forth the particulars of the furniture in staring capitals. They 
have hung a shred of carpet out of an upstairs window — a half dozen of 




-->/ , / 



*', //s?s/// /'/ r ,/4- 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 145 

porters are lounging on the dirty steps — the hall swarms with clingy guests 
of oriental countenance, who thrust printed cards into your hand, and offer 
to bid. Old women and amateurs have invaded the upper apartments, 
pinching the bed curtains, poking into the feathers, shampooing the mat- 
tresses, and clapping the wardrobe drawers to and fro. Enterprising young 
housekeepers are measuring the looking glasses and hangings to see if they 
will suit the new menage. — (Snob will brag for years that he has purchased 
this or that at Dives's sale,) and Mr. Hanimerdown is sitting on the great 
mahogany dining-tables, in the dining-room below, waving the ivory 
hammer, and employing all the artifices of eloquence, enthusiasm, entreaty, 
reason, despair; shouting to his people; satirizing Mr. Davids for his 
sluggishness ; inspiriting Mrs. Moss into action ; imploring, commanding, 
bellowing, until down comes the hammer like fate, and we pass to the next 
lot. O Dives, who would ever have thought, as we sat round the broad 
table sparkling with plate and spotless linen, ever to have seen such a dish 
at the head of it as that roaring auctioneer ? 

It was rather late in the sale. The excellent drawing-room furniture 
by the best makers ; the rare and famous wines selected, regardless 'of cost, 
and with the well known taste of the purchaser ; the rich and complete 
set of family plate had been sold on the previous days. Certain of the best 
wines (which all had a great character among amateurs in the neighbour- 
hood) had been purchased for his master, who knew them very well, by 
the butler of our friend John Osborne, Esquire, of Eussell Square. A 
small portion of the most useful articles of the plate had been bought by 
some young stock-brokers from the city. And now the public being invited 
to the purchase of minor objects, it happened that the orator on the table 
was expatiating on the merits of a picture, which he sought to recommend 
to his audience : it was by no means so select or numerous a company as 
had attended the previous days of the auction. 

" No. 369," roared Mr. Hanimerdown. "Portrait of a gentleman on an 
elephant. Who '11 bid for the gentleman on the elephant ? Lift up the 
picture, Blowman, and let the company examine this lot." A long, pale, 
military-looking gentleman, seated demurely at the mahogany table, could 
not help grinning as this valuable lot was shown by Mr. Blowman. 
"Turn the elephant to the Captain, Blowman. "What shall we say, sir, 
for the elephant ?" but the Captain, blushing in a very hurried and dis- 
comfited manner, turned away his head, and the auctioneer repeated his 
discomposure. 

" Shall we say twenty guineas for this work of art ? — fifteen, five, name 
your own price. The gentleman without the elephant is worth five 
pound." 

" I wonder it aint come down with him," said a professional wag, " he's 
any how a precious big one ;" at which (for the elephant-rider was repre- 
sented as of a very stout figure) there was a general giggle in the room. 

._ , v o / D O DO 

Don t be trying to deprecate the value of the lot, Mr. Moss," Mr. 
Hammerdown said ; " let the company examine it as a work of art — the 
attitude of the gallant animal quite according to natur ; the gentleman in 
a nankeen-jacket, his gun in his hand is going to the chace ; in the dis- 
tance a banyhann-tree and a pagody, most likely resemblances of some 

L 



146 



VANITY FA1K. 



interesting spot in our famous Eastern possessions. How much, for this 
lot ? Come, gentlemen, don't keep me here all day." 

Some one bid five shillings, at which the military gentleman looked 
towards the quarter from which this splendid offer had come ; and there 
saw another officer with a young lady on his arm, who both appeared to 
be highly amused with the scene, and to whom, finally, this lot was knocked 




down for half-a-guinea. He at the table looked more surprised and dis- 
composed than ever when he spied this pair, and his head sank into his 
military collar, and he turned his back upon them, so as to avoid them 
altogether. 

Of all the other articles which Mr. Hammerdown had the honour to offer 
for public competition that day it is not our purpose to make mention, 
save of one only ; this was a little square piano which came down from the 
upper regions of the house (the state grand piano having been disposed of 
previously); this the young lady tried with a rapid and skilful hand, 
(making the officer blush and start again), and for it, when its turn came, 
her agent began to bid. 

But there was an opposition here. The Hebrew aide-de-camp in the 
service of the officer at the table bid against the Hebrew gentleman em- 
ployed by the elephant purchasers, and a brisk battle ensued over this 
little piano, the combatants being greatly encouraged by Mr. Hammerdown. 

At last, when the competition had been prolonged for some time, the 
elephant captain and lady desisted from the race ; and the hammer 
coming down, the auctioneer said : — " ]\lr. Lewis, twenty-five," and Mr. 
Lewis's chief thus became the proprietor of the Httle square piano. 
Having effected the purchase, he sate up as if he was greatly relieved, and 
the unsuccessful competitors catching a glimpse of him at this moment, 
the lady said to her friend, 

"Why, Kawdon, it's Captain Dobbin." 

I suppose Becky was discontented with the new piano her husband had 
hired for her, or perhaps the proprietors of that instrument had fetched it 
away, declining farther credit, or perhaps she had a particular attachment 
for the one which she had first tried to purchase, recollecting it in old 



A KOYEL WITHOUT A HERO. 147 

days, when she used to play upon it, in the little sitting-room of our dear 
Amelia Sedley. 

The sale was at the old house in Kussell Square, where we passed some 
evenings together at the beginning of this story. Good old John Sedley 
was a ruined man. His name had been proclaimed as a defaulter on the 
Stock Exchange, and his bankruptcy and commercial extermination had 
followed. Mr. Osborne's butler came to buy some of the famous port 
wine to transfer to the cellars over the way. As for one dozen well- 
manufactured silver spoons and forks at per oz., and one dozen dessert 
ditto ditto, there were three young stockbrokers (Messrs. Dale, Spiggot, 
and Dale, of Threadneedle street, indeed), who having had deaUngs with 
the old man, and kindnesses from him in davs when he was kind to 
every body with whom he dealt, sent this little spar out of the wreck with 
their love to good Mrs. Sedley ; and with respect to the piano, as it had 
been Ameha's, and as she might miss it and want one now, and as Cap- 
tain William Dobbin could no more play upon it, than he could dance on 
the tight-rope, it is probable that he did not purchase it for his own use. 

In a word, it arrived that evening, at a wonderful small cottage in a 
street leading from the Eulham Road — one of those streets which have 
the finest romantic names — (this was called St. Adelaide Yillas, Anna- 
Maria Eoad, West), where the houses look like baby-houses ; where the 
people looking out of the first-floor windows, must infallibly, as you think, 
sit with their feet in the parlours ; where the shrubs in the little gardens 
in front, bloom with a perennial display of little children's pinafores, little 
red socks, caps, &c. (polyandria polygynia) ; whence you hear the sound 
of jingling spinets and women singing ; where httle porter pots hang on 
the railings sunning themselves ; whither of evenings you see city clerks 
padding wearily : here it was that Mr. Clapp, the clerk of Mr. Sedley, had 
his domicile, and in this asylum the good old gentleman hid his head 
with his wife and daughter when the crash came. 

Jos Sedley had acted as a man of his disposition would, when the an- 
nouncement of the family -misfortune reached him. He did not come to 
London, but he wrote to his mother to draw upon his agents for whatever 
money was wanted, so that his kind broken-spirited old parents had no 
present poverty to fear. This done, Jos went on at the boarding-house 
at Cheltenham pretty much as before. He drove his curricle ; he drank 
his claret ; he played his rubber ; he told his Indian stories, and the Irish 
widow consoled and flattered him as usual. His present of money, needful 
as it was, made little impression on his parents ; and I have heard Ameba 
say, that the first day on which she saw her father lift up his head after 
the failure, was on the receipt of the packet of forks and spoons with the 
young stockbroker's love, over which he burst out, crying bke a child, 
being greatly more affected than even his wife, to whom the present was 
addressed. Edward Dale, the junior of the house, who purchased the 
spoons for the firm, was, in fact, very sweet upon Amelia, and offered for 
her in spite of all. He married Miss Louisa Cutts (daughter of Higham 
and Cutts, the eminent corn-factors), with a handsome fortune in 1820; 
and is now bving in splendour, and with a numerous familv, at hi3 elegant 

L2 



148 VANITY FAIE. 



villa, Muswell Hill. But we must not let. the recollections of this good 
fellow cause us to diverge from the plain and principal history. 

I hope the reader has much too good an opinion of Captain and Mrs. 
Crawley to suppose that they ever would have dreamed of paying a visit to 
so remote a district as Bloomsbury, if they thought the family whom they 
proposed to honour with a visit were not merely out of fashion, but out of 
money, and could be serviceable to them in no possible manner. Bebecca 
was entirely surprised at the sight of the comfortable old house where she 
had met with no small kindness, ransacked by brokers and bargainers, and 
its quiet family treasures given up to public desecration and plunder. A 
month after her flight, she had bethought her of Amelia, and Bawdon, with 
a horse laugh, had expressed a perfect willingness to see young George 
Osborne again. "He's a very agreeable acquaintance, Beck," the wag 
added. " I'd like to sell him another horse, Beck. I'd like to play a few 
more games at billiards with him. He'd be what I call useful just now, 
Mrs. C. — ha, ha ! " by which sort of speech it is not to be supposed that 
Bawdon Crawley had a deliberate desire to cheat Mr. Osborne at play, but 
only wished to take that fair advantage of him which almost every sporting 
gentleman in Vanity Pair considers to be his due from his neighbour. 

The old Aunt was long in " coming-to." A month had elapsed. Bawdon 
was denied the door by Mr. Bowls ; his servants could not get a lodge- 
ment in the house at Bark Lane ; his letters were sent back unopened. 
Miss Crawley never stirred out — she was unwell — and Mrs. Bute remained 
still and never left her. Crawley and his wife both of them augured evil 
from the continued presence of Mrs. Bute. 

" Gad, I begin to perceive now why she was always bringing us together 
at Queen's Crawley," Bawdon said. 

" What an artful little woman ! " ejaculated Bebecca. 

" Well, 7 don't regret it, if you don't," the Captain cried, still in an amo- 
rous rapture with his wife, who rewarded him with a kiss by way of reply, 
and was indeed not a little gratified by the generous confidence of her 
husband. 

" If he had but a little more brains," she thought to herself, "I might 
make something of him;" but she never let him perceive the opinion she 
had of him; listened with indefatigable complacency to his stories of the 
stable and the mess ; laughed at all his jokes ; felt the greatest interest in 
Jack Spatterdash, whose cab-horse had come down, and Bob Martingale, 
who had been taken up in a gambling-house, and Tom Cinqbars, who was 
going to ride the steeple-chase. When he came home she was alert and 
happy : when he went out she pressed him to go : when he stayed at home, 
she played and sang for him, made him good drinks, superintended his 
dinner, warmed his slippers, and steeped his soul in comfort. The best of 
women (I have heard my grandmother say) are hypocrites. We don't know 
how much they hide from us : how watchful they are when they seem most 
artless and confidential : how often those frank smiles which they wear so 
easily, are traps to cajole or elude or disarm — I don't mean in your mere 
coquettes, but your domestic models, and paragons of female virtue. Who 
has not seen a woman hide the dulness of a stupid husband, or coax. the 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 149 

fury of a savage one ? "We accept this amiable slavishness, and praise a 
woman for it : we call this pretty treachery truth. A good housewife is 
of necessity a humbug ; and Cornelia's husband was hoodwinked, as 
Potiphar was — only in a different way. 

By these attentions, that veteran rake, Bawdon Crawley, found himself 
converted into a very happy and submissive married man. His former 
haunts knew him not. They asked about him once or twice at his clubs, 
but did not miss him much : in those booths of Yanity Pair people seldom 
do miss each other. His secluded wife ever smiling and cheerful, his little 
comfortable lodgings, snug meals, and homely evenings, had all the charms 
of novelty and secrecy. The marriage was not yet declared to the world, or 
published in the Morning Post. All his creditors would have come rush- 
ing on him in a body, had they known that he was united to a woman 
without fortune. " My relations won't cry fie upon me," Becky said, with 
rather a bitter laugh ; " and she was quite contented to wait until the old 
aunt should be reconciled, before she claimed her place in society. So 
she lived at Brompton, and meanwhile saw no one, or only those few of 
her husband's male companions who were admitted into her Httle dining- 
room. These were all charmed with her. The little dinners, the laughing 
and chatting, the music afterwards, delighted all who participated in these 
enjoyments. Major Martingale never thought about asking to see the 
marriage license. Captain Cinqbars was perfectly enchanted with her skill 
in making punch. Young Cornet and Lieutenant Spatterdash (who was 
fond of piquet, and whom Crawley would often invite) was evidently and' 
quickly smitten by Mrs. Crawley; but her own circumspection and modesty 
never forsook her for a moment, and Crawley's reputation as a fire-eating 
and jealous warrior, was a further and complete defence to his little wife. 

There are gentlemen of very good blood and fashion in this city, who 
never have entered a lady's drawing-room ; so that though Bawdon 
Crawley's marriage might be talked about in his county, where, of course, 
Mrs. Bute had spread the news, in London it w r as doubted, or not heeded, 
or not talked about at all. He lived comfortably on credit. He had a 
a large capital of debts, which laid out judiciously, will carry a man along 
for many years, and on which certain men about town contrive to live a 
hundred times better than even men with ready money can do. Indeed 
who is there that walks London streets, but can point out a half-dozen of 
men riding by 1dm splendidly, while he is on foot, courted by fashion, 
bowed into their carriages by tradesmen, denying themselves nothing, and 
living on who knows what ? We see Jack Thriftless prancing in the park, 
or darting in his brougham down Pall Mall : we eat his dinners served on 
his miraculous plate, " How did this begin, we say, or where will it end ?" 
" My dear fellow," I heard Jack once say, " I owe money in every capital in 
Europe." The end must come some day, but in the mean time Jack 
thrives as much as ever ; people are glad enough to shake him by the hand, 
ignore the little dark stories that are whispered every now and then against 
him, and pronounce him a good-natured, jovial, reckless fellow. 

Truth obliges us to confess that Bebecca had married a gentleman of 
this order. Everything was plentiful in his house but ready money, of 
which their menage pretty early felt the want ; and reading the Gazette 



150 VANITY FAIE. 



one day, and coming upon the announcement of " Lieutenant GK Osborne 
to be Captain by purchase, vice Smith, who exchanges," Bawdon uttered 
that sentiment regarding Amelia's lover, which ended in the visit to 
Russell Square. 

When Eawdon and his wife wished to communicate with Captain 
Dobbin at the sale, and to know particulars of the catastrophe which had 
befallen Eebecca's old acquaintances, the Captain had vanished; and 
such information as they got, was from a stray porter or broker at the 
auction. 

" Look at them with their hooked beaks," Becky said, getting into the 
buggy, her picture under her arm in great glee. " They 're like vultures 
after a battle." 

" Don't know. Never was in action, my dear. Ask Martingale, he 
was in Spain, aide-de-camp to General Blazes." 

" He was a very kind old man, Mr. Sedley," Bebecca said ; " I 'm really 
sorry he 's gone wrong." 

" stockbrokers — bankrupts — used to it, you know." Bawdon 
replied, cutting a fly off the horse's ear. 

" I wish we could have afforded some of the plate, Bawdon," the wife 
continued sentimentally. " Bive-and-twenty guineas was monstrously 
dear for that little piano. We chose it at Broadwood's for Amelia, when 
she came from school. It only cost five-and-thirty then." 

" What d'ye-call'em e Osborne,' will cry off now, I suppose, since the 
family is smashed. How cut up your pretty little friend will be ; hey, 
Becky?" ■ 

" I daresay she '11 recover it ;" Becky said, with a smile — and they 
drove on and talked about something else. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 




"WHO PLAYED ON THE PIAXO CAPTAIN DOBBIN BOUGHT ? 

TIE surprised story now finds itself 
for a moment among very famous 
events and personages, and hanging 
on to the skirts of history. When 
the eagles of Napoleon Bonaparte, 
the Corsican upstart, were flying 
from Provence, where they had 
perched after a brief sojourn in 
Elba, and from steeple to steeple 
until they reached the towers of 
Notre Dame, I wonder whether 
the Imperial birds had any eye for a 
little corner of the parish of Blooms- 
bury, London, which you might have 
jjjjf thought so quiet, that even the whir- 
ring and flapping of those mighty 
wings would pass unobserved there? 
"Napoleon has landed at Cannes." 
Such news might create a panic 
at Vienna, and cause Bussia to drop his cards, and take Prussia into a 
corner, and Talleyrand and Metternich to wag their heads together, while 
Prince Hardenberg, and even the present Marquis of Londonderry, were 
puzzled ; but how was this intelligence to affect a young lady in Bussell 
Square, before whose door the watchman sang the hours when she was 
asleep : who, if she strolled in the square, was guarded there by the 
raibngs and the beadle : who, if she walked ever so short a distance to 
buy a ribbon in Southampton Bow, was followed by black Sambo with an 
enormous cane: who was always cared for, dressed, put to bed, and 
watched over by ever so many guardian angels, with and without wages. 
Bon Dieu, I say, is it not hard that the fateful rush of the great Imperial 
struggle can't take place without affecting a poor Httle harmless girl of 
eighteen, who is occupied in billing and cooing, or working muslin collars 
in Bussell Square ? You, too, kindly, homely flower ! — is the great roar- 
ing war tempest coming to sweep you down, here, although cowering 
under the shelter of Holborn ? Yes ; Napoleon is flinging his last stake, 
and poor little Emmy Sedley's happiness forms, somehow, part of it. 

In the first place, her father's fortune was swept down with that fatal 
news. All his speculations had of late gone wrong with the luckless 



152 VANITY FAIK. 



old gentleman. Ventures had failed : merchants had broken : funds had 
risen when he calculated they would fall. "What need to particularize ? 
If success is rare and slow, everybody knows how quick and easy ruin is. 
Old Sedley had kept his own sad counsel. Everything seemed to go on 
as usual in the quiet, opident house : the good-natured mistress pursuing, 
quite unsuspiciously, her bustling idleness, and daily easy avocations ; the 
daughter absorbed still in one selfish, tender thought, and quite regard- 
less of aE the world besides, when that final crash came under which this 
worthy family fell. 

One night Mrs. Sedley was writing cards for a party ; the Osbornes had 
given one, and she must not be behindhand ; John Sedley, who had come 
home very late from the city, sate silent at the chimney side, while his 
wife was pratthng to him ; Emmy had gone up to her room ailing and 
low-spirited. " She 's not happy," the mother went on. " George 
Osborne neglects her. I 've no patience with the airs of those people. 
The girls have not been in the house these three weeks ; and George has 
been twice in town without coming. Edward Dale saw him at the Opera. 
Edward would marry her I 'm sure ; and there 's Captain Dobbin who, I 
think, would — only I hate all army men. Such a dandy as George has 
become. With his military airs, indeed ! We must show some folks 
that we 're as good as they. Only give Edward Dale any encouragement, 
and you '11 see. We must have a party, Mr. S. Why don't you speak, 
John ? Shall I say Tuesday fortnight ? Why don't you answer ? Good 
God, John, what has happened?" 

John Sedley sprang up out of his chair to meet his wife, who ran to 
him. He seized her in his arms, and said with a hasty voice, " We're 
ruined, Mary. We've got the world to begin over again, dear. It 's best 
that 'you should know all, and at once." As he spoke, he trembled in 
every limb, and almost fell. He thought the news would have over- 
powered his wife — his wife, to whom he had never said a hard word. But 
it was he that was the most moved, sudden as the shock was to her. 
When he sank back into his seat, it was the wife that took the office of 
consoler. She took his honest, kind hand, and kissed it, and put it round 
her neck : she called him her John — her dear John — her old man — her 
kind old man : she poiired out a hundred words of incoherent love and 
tenderness ; her faithful voice and simple caresses wrought this kind heart 
up to an inexpressible delight and anguish, and cheered and solaced his 
overburdened soul. 

Only once in the course of the long night as they sate together, and 
poor Sedley opened his pent-up soul, and told the story of his losses and 
embarrassments — the treason of some of his oldest friends, the manly 
kindness of some from whom he never could have expected it — in a 
general confession — only once did the faithful wife give way to emotion. 

" My God, my God, it will break Emmy's heart," she said. 

The father had forgotten the poor girl. She was lying, awake and 
unhappy, overhead. In the midst of friends, home, and kind parents, she 
was alone. To how many people can any one tell all ? Who will be open 
where there is no sympathy, or has call to speak to those who never 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 153 

can understand ? Our gentle Amelia was thus solitary. She had no 
confidante, so to speak, ever since she had anything to confide. She 
could not tell the good mother her doubts and cares: the would-be sisters 
seemed every day more strange to her. And she had misgivings and fears 
which she dared not acknowledge to herself, though she was always 
secretly brooding over them. 

Her heart tried to persist in asserting that George Osborne was worthy 
and faithful to her, though she knew otherwise. How many a thing had 
she said, and got no echo from him. How many suspicions of selfishness 
and indifference had she to encounter and obstinately overcome. To 
whom could the poor little martyr tell these daily struggles and tortures ? 
Her hero himself only half understood her. She did not dare to own 
that the man she loved was her inferior ; or to feel that she had given her 
heart away too soon. Given once, the pure bashful maiden was too 
modest, too tender, too trustful, too weak, too much woman to recal it. 
We are Turks with the affections of our women ; and have made them 
subscribe to our doctrine too. We let their bodies go abroad hberally 
enough, with smiles and ringlets and pink bonnets to disguise them instead 
of veils and yakmaks. But their souls must be seen by only one man, 
and they obey not unwillingly, and consent to remain at home as our 
slaves — ministering to us and doing drudgery for us. 

So imprisoned and tortured was this gentle little heart, when in the 
month of March, Anno Domino 1815, Napoleon landed at Cannes, and 
Louis XVIII. fled, and all Europe was in alarm, and the funds fell, and 
good old John Sedley was ruined. 

We are . not going to follow the worthy old stockbroker through those 
last pangs and agonies of ruin through which he passed before his com- 
mercial, demise befel. They declared him at the Stock Exchange ; he was 
absent from bis house of business : his bills were protested : his act of 
bankruptcy formal. The house and furniture of Russell Square were 
seized and sold up, and he and his family were thrust away, as we have 
seen, to hide their beads where they might. 

John Sedley had not the heart to review the domestic establishment 
who have appeared now and anon in our pages, and of whom he was now 
forced by poverty to take leave. The wages of those worthy people were 
discharged with that punctuality which men frequently show who only owe 
in great sums — they were sorry to leave good places — but they did not 
break their hearts at parting from then: adored master and mistress. 
Ameha's maid was profuse in condolences, but went off quite resigned to 
better herself in a genteeler quarter of the town. Black Sambo, with the 
infatuation of his profession, determined on setting up a pubbc-house. 
Honest old Mrs. Blenkinsop indeed, who had seen the birth of Jos and 
AmeHa, and the wooing of John Sedley and his wife, was for staying by 
them without wages, having amassed a considerable sum in their service : 
and she accompanied the fallen people into then new and humble place of 
refuge, where she tended them and grumbled against them for a while. 

Of all Sedley's opponents in his debates with his creditors which now 



154 YANITY FAIK. 



ensued, and harassed the feelings of the good kindly old gentleman so 
severely, that in six weeks he oldened more than he had done for fifteen 
years before — the most determined and obstinate seemed to be John 
Osborne, his old friend and neighbour — John Osborne, whom he had set 
up in life — who was under a hundred obligations to him — and whose son 
was to marry Sedley's daughter. Any one of these circumstances would 
account for the bitterness of Osborne's opposition. 

When one man has been under very remarkable obligations to another, 
with whom he subsequently quarrels, a common sense of decency, as it 
were, makes of the formera much severer enemy than a merestranger would 
be. To account for your own hardheartedness and ingratitude in such a 
case, you are bound to prove the other party's crime. It is not that you 
are selfish, brutal, and angry at the failure of a speculation — no, no — it is 
that your partner has led you into it by the basest treachery and with the 
most sinister motives. From a mere sense of consistency, a persecutor is 
bound to shew that the fallen man is a villain — otherwise he the persecutor 
is a wretch himself. 

And as a general rule, which may make all creditors who are inclined 
to be severe, pretty comfortable in their minds, no men embarrassed are 
altogether honest, very likely. They conceal something ; they exaggerate 
chances of good-luck, hide away the real state of affairs, say that things 
are flourishing when they are hopeless : keep a smiling face (a dreary 
smile it is) upon the verge of bankruptcy — are ready to lay hold of any 
pretext for delay, or of any money, so as to stave off the inevitable nun a 
fewdays longer. "Down with such dishonesty," says thecreditor in triumph, 
and reviles his- sinking enemy. " You fool, why do you catch at a straw ? " 
calm good sense says to the man that is drowning. " You villain, why do 
you shrink from plunging into the irretrievable Gazette ?" says prosperity 
to the poor devil battling in that black gulf. Who has not remarked the 
readiness with which the closest of friends and honestest of men suspect 
and accuse each other of cheating when they fall out on money matters. 
Everybody does it. Everybody is right, I suppose, and the world is a 
rogue. 

Then Osborne had the intolerable sense of former benefits to goad and 
irritate him : these are always a cause of hostility aggravated. Finally, he 
had to break off the match between Sedley's daughter and his son ; and as 
it had gone very far indeed, and as the poor girl's happiness and perhaps 
character were ^compromised, it was necessary to show the strongest 
reasons for the rupture, and for John Osborne to prove John Sedley to be 
a very bad character indeed. 

At the meetings of creditors, then, he comported himself with a savageness 
and scorn towards Sedley, which almost succeeded in breaking the heart 
of that ruined bankrupt man. On George's intercourse with Amelia he 
put an instant veto — menacing the youth with maledictions if he broke his 
commands, and vilipending the poor innocent girl as the basest and most 
artful of vixens. One of the great conditions of anger and hatred is, that 
you must tell and believe lies against the hated object, in order, as we said, 
to be consistent. 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 155 

When the great crash came — the announcement of ruin, and the de- 
parture from Russell Square, and the declaration that all was over between 
her and George — all over between her and love, her and happiness, her 
and faith in the world — a brutal letter from John Osborne told her in a 
few curt lines that her father's conduct had been of such a nature that all 
engagements between the families were at an end — when the final award 
came, it did not shock her so much as her parents, as her mother rather 
expected (for John Sedley himself was entirely prostrate in the ruins of 
his own affairs and shattered honour). Amelia took the news very palely 
and calmly. It was only the confirmation of the dark presages which had 
long gone before. It was the mere reading of the sentence — of the crime 
she had long ago been guilty — the crime of loving wrongly, too violently, 
against reason. She told no more of her thoughts now than she had 
before. She seemed scarcely more unhappy now when convinced all 
hope was over, than before when she felt but dared not confess that it 
was crone. So she changed from the larsre house to the small one without 
any mark or difference; remained less in her little room for the most 
part ; pined silently ; and died away day by day. I do not mean to say 
that all females are so. My dear Miss Bullock, I do not think your heart 
would break in this way. You are a strong-minded young woman with 
proper principles. I do not venture to say that mine would ; it has suf- 
fered, and, it rmist be confessed, survived. But there are some souls thus 
gently constituted, thus frail, and delicate, and tender. 

Whenever old John Sedley thought of the affair between George and 
Amelia, or alluded to it, it was with bitterness almost as great as Mr. 
Osbcrne himself had shown. He cursed Osborne and his family as heart- 
less, wicked, and ungrateful. No power on earth, he swore, would induce 
him to marry his daughter to the son of such a villain, and he ordered 
Emmy to banish George from her mind, and to return all the presents and 
letters which she had ever had from him. 

She promised acquiescence, and tried to obey. She put up the two or 
three trinkets ; and, as for the letters, she drew them out of the place 
where she kept them ; and read them over — as if she did not know them 
by heart already : but she could not part with them. That effort was too 
much for her j she placed them back in her bosom again — as you have 
seen a woman nurse a child that is dead. Young Amelia felt that she 
would die or lose her senses outright, if torn away from this last consola- 
tion. How she used to blush and lighten up when those letters came ! 
How she used to trip away with a beating heart, so that she might read 
unseen. If they were cold, yet how perversely this fond little soid inter- 
preted them into warmth. If they were short or selfish, what excuses she 
found for the writer ! 

It was over these few worthless papers that she brooded and brooded. 
She lived in her past life — every letter seemed to recall some circumstance 
of it. How well she remembered them all ! His looks and tones, his 
dress, what he said and how — these relics and remembrances of dead 
affection were all that were left her in the world, and the business of her 
life, to watch the corpse of Love. 



156 VANITY PAIE. 



To death she looked with inexpressible longing. Then, she thought, 
I shall always be able to follow him. I am not praising her conduct or 
setting her up as a model for Miss Bullock to imitate. Miss B. knows 
how to regulate her feelings better than this poor little creature. Miss B. 
wordd never have committed herself as that imprudent Amelia had done ; 
pledged her loved irretrievably ; confessed her heart away, and got back 
nothing — only a brittle promise which was snapt and worthless in a 
moment. Along engagement is a partnership which one party is free to 
keep or to break, but which involves all the capital of the other. 

Be cautious then, young ladies ; be wary how you engage. Be shy of 
loving frankly ; never, tell all you feel, or (a better way still) feel very 
little. See the consequences of being prematurely honest and confiding, 
and mistrust yourselves and everybody. Get yourselves, married as they 
do in France, where the lawyers are the bridesmaids and confidantes. At 
any rate, never have any feelings which may make you uncomfortable, or 
make any promises which you cannot at any required moment command 
and withdraw. That is the way to get on, and be respected, and have a 
virtuous character in Vanity Fair. 

If Amelia could have heard the comments regarding her which were 
made in the circle from which her father's nun had just driven her, she 
would have seen what her own crimes were, and how entirely her character 
■was jeopardied. Such criminal imprudence Mrs. Smith never knew of; 
such horrid familiarities Mrs. Brown had always condemned, and the end 
might be a warning to her daughters. " Captain Osborne, of course, 
could not marry a bankrupt's daughter," the Miss Dobbins said. " It 
was quite enough to have been swindled by the father. As for that little 
Amelia, her folly had really passed all — " 

"All what?" Captain Dobbin roared out. "Haven't they been en- 
gaged ever since they were children ? "Wasn't it as good as a marriage ? 
Dare any soul on earth breathe a word against the sweetest, the purest, 
the tenderest, the most angelical of young women?" 

"La, William, don't be so highty tighty with us. We're not men. 
We can't fight you," Miss Jane said. "We've said nothing against 
Miss Sedley : but that her conduct throughout was most imprudent, not to 
call it by any worse name ; and that her parents are people who certainly 
merit their misfortunes." 

"Hadn't you better, now that Miss Sedley is free, propose for her 
yourself, William?" Miss A. asked sarcastically. "It would be a most 
eligible family connexion. He ! he ! " 

" I marry her!" Dobbin said, blushing very much and talking quick. 
" If you are so ready, young ladies, to chop and change, do you suppose that 
she is? Laugh and sneer at that angel. She can't hear it; and she's 
miserable and unfortunate, and deserves to be laughed at. Go on joking, 
Ann. You're the wit of the family, and the others like to hear it." 

" I must tell you again we're not in a barrack, Wilham," Miss Ann 
remarked. 

" In a barrack, by Jove — I wish anybody in a barrack would say what 
you do," cried out this improved British lion. " I should like to hear a 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 157 

man breathe, a word against her, by Jupiter. But men don't talk in this 
way, Ann : it 's only women, who get together, and hiss, and shriek, and 
cackle. There, get , away — don't begin to cry. I only said you were a 
couple of geese," Will Dobbin said, perceiving Miss Ann's pink eyes were 
beginning .to moisten as usual. " Well, you're not geese, you're swans — 
anything you like, only do, do leave Miss Sedley alone." 

Anything like William's infatuation about that silly little flirting, ogling 
thing was never known, the mamma and sisters agreed together in thinking : 
and they trembled lest, her engagement being off with Osborne, she should 
take up immediately her other admirer and Captain. In which forebodings 
these worthy young women no doubt judged according to the best of their - 
experience; or rather (for as yet they had had no opportunities or marrying 
or of jilting) according to their own notions of right and wrong. 

" It is a mercy, Mamma, that the regiment is ordered abroad," the 
girls said. " This danger, at any rate, is spared our brother." 

Such, indeed, was the fact ; and so it is that the French Emperor comes 
in to perform a part in this domestic comedy of Vanity Pair which we are 
now playing, and which would never have been enacted without the inter- 
vention of this august mute personage. It was he that ruined the Bour- 
bons and Mr. John Sedley. It was he whose arrival in his capital called 
up all France in arms to defend him there ; and all Europe to oust him. 
While the French nation and army were swearing fidelity round the eagles 
in the Champ de Mai, four mighty European hosts were getting in motion 
for the great chasse a Va'ujle; and one of these was a British army, of which 
two heroes of ours, Captain Dobbin and Captain Osborne, formed a 
portion. 

The news of Napoleon's escape and landing was received by the gallant 
— th with a fiery delight and enthusiasm, which everybody can understand 
who knows that famous corps. From the colonel to the smallest drummer 
in the regiment, all were filled with hope and ambition and patriotic fury ; 
and thanked the French Emperor as for a personal kindness in coming 
to disturb the peace of Europe. aSTow was the time the — th had so 
long panted for, to show their comrades in arms that they could fight as 
well as the Peninsular veterans, and that all the pluck and valour of the 
— th had not been killed by the West Indies and the yellow fever. Stubble 
and Spoony looked to get their companies without purchase. Before the 
end of the campaign (which she resolved to share), Mrs. Major O'Dowd 
hoped to write herself Mrs. Colonel O'Dowd, C.B. Our two friends (Dobbin 
and Osborne) were quite as much excited as the rest : and each in his 
way — Mr. Dobbin very quietly, Mr. Osborne very loudly and energeti- 
cally — was bent upon doing his duty, and gaining his share of honour and 
distinction. 

The agitation tln-illing through the country and army in consequence of 
this news was so great, that private matters were little heeded : and hence 
probably George Osborne, just gazetted to his company, busy with prepa- 
rations for the march, which must come inevitably, and panting for further 
promotion — was not so much affected by other incidents wluch would 
have interested him at a more quiet period. He was not, it must be con- 



158 VANITY FAIK. 



fessed, very much cast down by good old Mr. Sedley's catastrophe. He 
tried his new uniform, which became him veiy handsomely, on the day 
when the first meeting of the creditors of the unfortunate gentleman took 
place. His father told him of the wicked, rascally, shameful conduct of 
the bankrupt, reminded him of what he had said about Amelia, and that 
their connexion was broken off for ever ; and gave him that evening a 
good sum of money to pay for the new clothes and epaulets in which he 
looked so well. Money was always useful to this free-handed young 
fellow, and he took it without many words. The bills were up in the 
Sedley house, where he had passed so many, many happy hours. He could 
see them as he walked from home that night (to the Old Slaughters', where 
he put up when in town) shining white in the moon. That comfortable 
home was shut, then, upon Amelia and her parents : where had they taken 
refuge ? The thought of their ruin affected him not a little. He was 
very melancholy that night in the coffee-room at the Slaughters ; and 
drank a good deal, as his comrades remarked there. 

Dobbin came in presently, cautioned him about the drink, which he 
only took, he said, because he was deuced low ; but when his friend 
began to put to him clumsy inquiries, and asked him for news in a signi- 
ficant manner, Osborne declined entering into conversation with him ; 
avowing, however, that he was devilish disturbed and unhappy. 

Three days afterwards, Dobbin found Osborne in his room at the bar- 
racks : — his head on the table, a number of papers about, the young 
Captain evidently in a state of great despondency. " She 's — she 's sent 
me back some things I gave her — some damned trinkets. Look here !" 
There was a little packet directed in the well-known hand to Captain 
George Osborne, and some things lying about — a ring, a silver knife he 
had bought, as a boy, for her at a fan ; a gold chain, and a locket with 
hair in it. " It 's all over," said he, with a groan of sickening remorse. 
" Look, Will, you may read it if you like." 

There was a little letter of a few bnes, to which he pointed, which said r 

" My papa has ordered me to return to you these presents, which yon 
made in happier days to me ; and I am to write to you for the last time. 
I think, I know you feel as much as I do the blow which has come upon 
us. It is I that absolve you from an engagement which is impossible in 
our present misery. I am sure yon had no share in it, or in the cruel sus- 
picions of Mr. Osborne, which are the hardest of all our griefs to bear. 
Farewell. Farewell. I pray God to strengthen me to bear this and other 
calamities, and to bless you always. A. 

"I shall often play upon the piano — your piano. It was like you to 
send it." 

Dobbin was very soft-hearted. The sight of women and children in 
pain always used to melt him. The idea of Amelia broken-hearted and 
lonely, tore that good-natured soul with anguish. And he broke out into 
an emotion, which anybody who likes may consider unmanly. He swore 
that Amelia was an angel, to which Osborne said aye with all his heart. 
He, too, had been reviewing the history of their lives, — and had seen her 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 159 

from her childhood to her present age, so sweet, so innocent, so charm- 
ingly simple, and artlessly fond and tender. 

What a pang it was to lose all that : to have had it and not prized it ! 
A thousand homely scenes and recollections crowded on him — in which he 
always saw her good and beautiful. And for himself, he blushed with 
remorse and shame, as the remembrance of his own selfishness and indif- 
ference contrasted with that perfect purity. For a while, glory, war, every- 
thing was forgotten, and the pair of friends talked about her only. 

"Where are they ? " Osborne asked, after a long talk, and a long pause, 
— and, in truth, with no little shame at thinking that he had taken no steps 
to follow her. " Where are they ? There's no address to the note." 

Dobbin knew. He had not merely sent the piano ; but had written a 
note to Mrs. Sedley, and asked permission to come and see her, — and he 
had seen her, and Amelia too, yesterday, before he came down to Chatham; 
and, what is more, he had brought that farewell letter and packet which 
had so moved them. 

The good-natured fellow had found Mrs. Osborne only too willing to 
receive him, and greatly agitated by the arrival of the piano, which, as she 
conjectured, must have come from George, and was a signal of amity on 
his part. Captain Dobbin did not correct this error of the worthy lady, 
but listened to all her story of complaints and misfortunes with great sym- 
pathy — condoled with her losses and privations, and agreed in reprehending 
the cruel conduct of Mr. Osborne towards his first benefactor. When she 
had eased her overflowing bosom somewhat, and poured forth many of her 
sorrows, he had the courage to ask actually to see Amelia, who was above 
in her room as usual, and whom her mother led trembling down stairs. 

Her appearance was so ghastly, and her look of despair so pathetic, 
that honest William Dobbin was frightened as he beheld it ; and read the 
most fatal forebodings in that pale fixed face. After sitting in his com- 
pany a minute or two, she put the packet into his hand, and said, " Take 
this to Captain Osborne, if you please, and — and I hope he's quite well — 
and it was very kind of you to come and see us — and we like our new 
house very much. And I — I think I'll go up-stairs, Mamma, for I'm not 
veiy strong." And with this, and a curtsey and a smile, the poor child 
went her way. The mother, as she led her up, cast back looks of anguish 
towards Dobbin. The good fellow wanted no such appeal. He loved her 
himself too fondly for that. Inexpressible grief, and pity, and terror 
pursued him, and he came away as if he was a criminal after seeing her. 

When Osborne heard that his friend had found her, he made hot and 
anxious inquiries regarding the poor child. How was she ? How did 
she look ? What did she say ? His comrade took his hand, and looked 
him in the face. 

" George, she 's dying," William Dobbin said, — and could speak no 
more. 

There was a buxom Irish servant-girl, who performed all the duties of 
the little house where the Sedley family had found refuge ; and this girl 
had in vain, on many previous days, striven to give Amelia aid or conso- 



160 VANITY FAIR. 

lation. Emmy was much too sad to answer her, or even to be aware of 
the attempts the other was making in her favour. 

Four hours after the talk between Dobbin and Osborne, this servant- 
maid came into Amelia's room, where she sate as usual, brooding silently 
over her letters — her little treasures. The girl, smiling, and looking arch 
and happy, made many trials to attract poor Emmy's attention, who, 
however, took no heed of her. 

" Miss Emmy ! " said the girl. 

"I'm coming," Emmy said, not looking round, 

" There 's a message," the maid went on. " There 's something — some- 
body — sure, here 's a new letter for you — don't be reading them old ones 
any more." And she gave her a letter, which Emmy took, and read. 

" I must see you," the letter said. " Dearest Emmy — dearest love — 
dearest wife, come to me." 

George and her mother were outside, waiting until she had read the 
letter. 



CHAPTER XIX. 



MISS CBAWXET AT NTESE. 

E have seen how Mrs. Firkin, 
the ladv's maid, as soon as 
any event of importance to 
the Crawley family came to 
her knowledge, felt bound to 
communicate it to Mrs. Bute 
Crawler, at theEectorv: and 
have before mentioned how 
particularly kind and atten- 
tive that good-natured lady 
was to Miss Crawley's confi- 
dential servant. She had 
been a gracious friend to 
Mrs. Briggs, the companion, 
also; and had secured the 
latter's good will by a num- 
ber of those attentions and 
promises, which cost so little 
in the making, and are yet so 
valuable and agreeable to 
the recipient. Indeed every 
good economist and manager of a household must know how cheap 
and yet how amiable these professions are, and what a flavour they give to 
the most homely dish in life. "Who was the blundering idiot who said 
that "fine words butter no parsnips ?" Half the parsnips of society are 
served and rendered palatable with no other sauce. As the immortal 
Alexis Soyer can make more delicious soup for a halfpenny than an 
ignorant cook can concoct with pounds of vegetables and meat, so a skilful 
artist will make a few simple and pleasing phrases go farther than ever so 
much substantial benefit-stock in the hands of a mere bungler. Xay, we 
know that substantial benefits often sicken some stomachs; whereas, most 
will digest anv amount of fine words, and be alwavs eager for more of the" 
same food. Mrs. Bute had told Briggs and Firkin so often of the depth 
of her affection for them ; and what she would do if she had Miss Crawley's 
fortune for friends so excellent and attached, that the ladies in question 
had the deepest regard for her; and felt as much gratitude and confidence 
as if Mrs. Bute had loaded them with the most expensive favours. 

Bawdon Crawley, on the other hand, like a selfish heavy dragoon as he 
was, never took the least trouble to conciliate his aunt's aides-de-camp, 
showed his contempt for the pair with entire frankness — made Firkin pull 
off his boots on one occasion — sent her out in the rain on ignominious 




162 VANITY FAIR. 



messages — and if lie gave her a guinea, flung it to her as if it were a box 
on the ear. As his Aunt, too, made a butt of Briggs, the Captain followed 
the example and levelled his jokes at her — jokes about as delicate as a 
kick from his charger. Whereas, ]\Irs. Bute consulted her in matters of 
taste or difficulty, admired her poetry, and by a thousand acts of kindness 
and politeness, showed her appreciation of Briggs ; and if she made Firkin 
a twopenny-halfpenny present, accompanied it with so many compliments, 
that the two-pence-halfpenny was transmuted into gold in the heart of 
the grateful waiting-maid, who, besides, was looking forwards quite con- 
tentedly to some prodigious benefit which must happen to her on the day 
when Mrs. Bute came in to her fortune. 

The different conduct of these two people is pointed out respectfully to 
the attention of persons commencing the world. Praise everybody, I say 
to such : never be squeamish, but speak out your compliment both point- 
blank in a man's face, and behind his back, when you know there is a 
reasonable chance of his hearing it again. Never lose a chance of saying a 
kind word. As Collingwood never saw a vacant place in his estate but he 
took an acorn out of -his pocket and popped it in ; so deal with your com- 
pliments through life. An acorn costs nothing ; but it may sprout into a 
prodigious bit of timber. 

In a word, during Bawdon Crawley's prosperity, he was only obeyed with 
sulky acquiescence; when -his disgrace came, there was nobody to help or 
pity him. Whereas, when Mrs. Bute took the command at Miss Crawley's 
house, the garrison there were charmed to act under such a leader, ex- 
pecting all sorts of promotion froin her promises, her generosity, and her 
kind words. 

That he would consider himself beaten, after one defeat, and make no 
attempt to regain the position he had lost, Mrs. Bute Crawley never 
allowed herself to suppose. She knew Eebecca to be too clever and 
spirited, and desperate a woman to submit without a- struggle ; and felt 
that she must prepare for that combat, and be incessantly watchful against 
assault, or mine, or surprise. 

In the first place, though she held the town, was she sure of the prin- 
cipal inhabitant? - Would Miss Crawley herself hold out; and had she 
not a secret longing to welcome back the ousted adversary ? The old lady 
liked Bawdon, and Eebecca, who amused her. Mrs. Bute could not dis- 
guise from herself the fact that none of her party could so contribute to 
the pleasures of the town-bred lady. " My girls' singing, after that little 
odious governess's, I know is unbearable," the candid rector's wife owned 
to herself. " She always used to go to sleep when Martha and Louisa 
played their duets. Jim's stiff college manners and poor dear Bute's talk 
about his dogs and horses always annoyed her. If I took her to the 
Kectory, she would grow angry with us all, and fly, I know she would ; 
and might fall into that horrid Bawdon' s clutches again, and be the victim 
of that little viper of a Sharp. Meanwhile, it is clear to me that she is 
exceedingly unwell, and cannot move for some weeks, at any rate ; during 
which we must think of some plan to protect her from the arts of those 
unprincipled people." 

In the very best of moments, if anybody told Miss Crawley that she 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 



16J 



was, or looked ill, tlie trembling old lady sent off for her doctor; and I 
daresay she was very unwell after the sudden family event, which might 
serve to shake stronger nerves than hers. At least, Mrs. Bute thought it 
was her duty to inform the physician, and the apothecary, and the dame- 
de-compagnie, and the domestics, that Miss Crawley was in a most critical 
state, and that they were to act accordingly. She had the street laid knee- 
deep with straw ; and the knocker put by with Mr. Bowls's plate. She 
insisted that the Doctor should call twice a day ; and deluged her patient 
with draughts every two hours. When anybody entered the room, she 
uttered a sJishsJish so sibilant and ominous, that it frightened the poor old 
lady in her bed, from which she could not look without seeing Mrs. Bute's 
beady eyes eagerly fixed on her, as the latter sat steadfast in the arm-chair 
by the bed-side. They seemed to lighten in the dark (for she kept the 




curtains closed) as she moved about the room on velvet paws Uke a cat. 
There Miss Crawley lay for days — ever so many days — Mrs. Bute reading 
books of devotion to her : for nights, long nights, during which she had to 
hear the watchman sing, the night-light sputter ; visited at midnight, the 
last thing, by the stealthy apothecary; and then left to look at Mrs. Bute's 
twinkling eyes, or the flicks of y;llow that the rushlight threw on the 
dreary darkened ceiling. Hygeia herself woidd have fallen sick under such 
a regimen ; and how much more this poor old nervous victim ? It has 
been said that when she was in health aud good spirits, this venerable 
inhabitant of Vanity Pair had as free notions about religion and morals as 
Monsieur de Voltaire himself could desire, but when illness overtook her, 

M 2 



164 VANITY FAIR. 



it was aggravated by the most dreadful terrors of death, and an utter 
cowardice took possession of the prostrate old sinner. 

Sick-bed homilies and pious reflections are, to be sure, out of place in 
mere story-books, and we are riot going (after the fashion of some novelists 
of the present day) to cajole the public into a sermon, when it is only a 
comedy 'that the reader pays his money to witness. But, without preach- 
ing, the truth may surely be borne in -mind, that the bustle, and triumph, 
arid laughter, and gaiety which" Vanity Fair exhibits in public, do not 
always pursue the performer into private lifej and that the most dreary 
depression of spirits and dismal reperitances soinetimes overcome him. 
Becollection of the best ordained banquets will scarcely cheer sick epicures, 
lleminiscences of the most becorhing dresses and brilliant ball triumphs 
will go very little way to console faded beauties. Perhaps statesmen, at a 
particular period of existence, are not much gratified at thinking over the 
most triumphant divisions ; and the success or the pleasure of yesterday 
become of very small account when a certain (albeit uncertain) morrow is 
in view, about which all of us must some day or other be speculating. 
brother wearers of motley ! Are there not moments when one grows sick 
of grinning and tumbling, and the jingling of cap and bells ? This, dear 
friends and companions, is my amiable object — to walk with you through 
the Fair, to examine the shops and the shows there ; and that we should 
all come home after the flare, and the noise, and the gaiety, and be 
perfectly miserable in private. 

" If that poor man of mine had a head on his shoulders," Mrs. Bute 
Crawley thought to herself, " how useful he might be, under present cir- 
cumstances, to this unhappy old lady ! He might make her repent of her 
shocking free-thinking ways ; he might urge her to do her duty, and cast 
off that odious reprobate who has disgraced himself and his family ; and 
he might induce her to do justice to my dear girls and the two boys, who 
require and deserve, I am sure, every assistance which their relatives can 
give them." 

And, as the hatred of vice is always a progress towards virtue, Mrs. 
Bute Crawley endeavoured to instil into her sister-in-law a proper abhor- 
rence for all Bawdon Crawley's manifold sins : of which his uncle's wife 
brought forward such a catalogue as indeed would have served to condemn 
a whole regiment of young officers. If a man has committed wrong in life, 
I don't know any moralist more anxious to point his errors out to the 
world than his- own relations;- so Mrs'. Bute showed a perfect family 
interest and knowledge of Kawdon's history. She 'had all the particulars 
of that ugly quarrel with Captain Pirebrace, in which Bawdon, wrong from 
the beginning, ended in shooting the Captain. She knew how the un- 
happy Lord Dovedale, whose mamma had taken a house at Oxford, so that 
he might be educated- there, and who had never touched a card in his life 
till he came to London, was perverted by Bawdon at the Cocoa Tree, made 
helplessly tipsy by this abominable seducer and perverter of youth, and 
fleeced of four thousand pounds. She described with the most vivid 
minuteness the agonies of the country families whom he had ruined — : the 
sons whom he -had plunged *intcf dishonour and poverty — the daughters 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 165 

whom he had inveigled into perdition. She knew the poor tradesmen 
who were bankrupt by his extravagance — the mean shifts and rogueries 
with which he had ministered to it — the astounding falsehoods by which 
he had imposed upon the most generous of aunts, and the ingratitude and, 
ridicule by which he had repaid her sacrifices. She imparted these stories 
gradually to Miss Crawley ; gave her the whole benefit of them ; felt, it to. 
be her bounden duty as a Christian woman and mother of a family to do' 
so ; had not the smallest remorse or compunction for the victim Avhom her 
tongue was immolating ; nay, very likely thought her act was quite meri- 
torious, and plumed herself upon her resolute manner of performing it. 
Yes, if a man's character is to be abused, say what you will, there's" 
nobody bke a relation to do the business. And one is bound to own, 
regarding this unfortunate wretch of a Eawdon Crawley, that the mere 
truth was enough to condemn him, and that all inventions of scandal were 
quite superfluous pains on his friends' parts. 

Rebecca, too, being now a relative, came in for the fullest share of Mrs. 
Bute's kind inquiries. This indefatigable pursuer of truth (having given 
strict orders that the door was to be denied to all emissaries or letters 
from Eawdon), took Miss Crawley's carriage, and drove to her old friend 
Miss Pinkerton, at Minerva House, Chiswick Mall, to whom she announced 
the dreadful intelligence of Captain Bawdon's. seduction by Miss Sharp, 
and from whom she got all the particulars she could regarding the ex- • 
governess's birth and early history. The friend of the Lexicographer had 
plenty of information to give. Miss Jemima was made to fetch the draw- 
ing-master's receipts and letters. This one was from a spunging-house : 
that entreated an advance : another was full of gratitude for Rebecca's 
reception by the ladies of Chiswick : and the last document from the 
unlucky artist's pen was that in wldch, from his dying bed, he recom- 
mended his orphan child to Miss Pinkerton's protection. ■ There were 
juvenile letters and petitions from Bebecca, too, in the collection, imploring 
aid for her father, or declaring her own gratitude. Perhaps in Vanity Pair 
there are no better satires than letters. Take a bundle of your dear 
friend's of ten years back — your dear friend whom you hate now. Look 
at a file of your sister's : how you clung to eaeh other till you quarrelled 
about the twenty pound legacy ! Get down the round-hand scrawls of 
your son who has half broken your heart with selfish undutifulness since ; 
or a parcel of your own, breathing endless ardour and love eternal, which 
were sent back by your mistress when she married the Nabob — your mis- 
tress for whom you now care no more than for Queen Elizabeth. Vows, 
love, promises, confidences, gratitude, how queerly they read after a while ! 
There ought to be a law in Vanity Pair ordering the destruction of every 
written document, (except receipted tradesmen's bills) after a certain brief 
and proper interval. Those quacks and misanthropes who advertise inde- 
lible Japan ink, should be made to perish along with their wicked disco- 
veries. The best ink for Vanity Pair use would be one that faded utterly 
in a couple of days, and left the paper clean and blank, so that you might 
write on it to somebody else. 

Prom Miss Pinkerton's the indefatigable Mrs. Bute followed the track 
of Sharp and his daughter back to the lodgings in Greek Street, which ■ 



166 VANITY FAIR. 



the defunct painter had occupied ; and where portraits of the landlady in 
white satin, and of the husband in brass buttons, done by Sharp in lieu of 
a quarter's rent, still decorated the parlour walls. Mrs, Stokes was a 
communicative person, and quickly told all she knew about Mr. Sharp ; 
how dissolute and poor he was ; how good-natured and amusing ; how he 
was always hunted by bailiffs and duns ; how, to the landlady's horror, 
though she never coidd abide the woman, he did not marry his wife till a 
short time before her death; and what a queer little wild vixen his daughter 
was ; how she kept them all laughing with her fun and mimicry ; how she 
used to fetch the gin from the public-house, and was known in all the 
studios in the quarter — in brief, Mrs. Bute got such a full account of her 
new niece's parentage, . education, and behaviour as would scarcely have 
pleased Rebecca, had the latter known that such inquiries Avere being made 
concerning her. 

Of all these industrious researches Miss Crawley had the full benefit. 
Mrs. Bawdon Crawley was the daughter of an opera girl. She had danced 
herself. She had been a model to the painters. She was brought up as 
became her mother's daughter. She drank gin with her father, &c. &c. 
It was a lost woman who was married to a lost man ; and the moral to 
be inferred from Mrs. Bute's tale was, that the knavery of the pair was 
irremediable, and that no properly-conducted person should ever notice 
them again. 

These were the materials which prudent Mrs. Bute gathered together 
in Park Lane, the provisions and ammunition as it were with which she 
fortified the house against the siege which she knew that Bawdon and his 
wife would lay to Miss Crawley. 

. But if a fault may be found with her arrangements, it is this, that she 
was too eager : she managed rather too well ; undoubtedly she made Miss 
Crawley more ill than was necessary ; and though the old invalid suc- 
cumbed to her authority, it was so harassing and severe, that the victim 
would be inclined to escape at the very first chance which fell in her way. 
Managing women, the ornaments of their sex, — women who order every- 
thing for everybody, and know so much better than any person concerned 
what is good for then neighbours, don't sometimes speculate upon the 
possibility of a domestic revolt, or upon other extreme consequences 
resulting from their overstrained authority. 

Thus for instance Mrs. Bute, with the best intentions no doubt in the 
world, and wearing herself to death as she did by foregoing sleep, dinner, 
fresh air, for the sake of her invalid sister-in-law, carried her conviction of 
the old lady's illness so far that she almost managed her into her coffin. 
She pointed out her sacrifices and then results one day to the constant 
apothecary, Mr. Clump. 

" I am sure, my dear Mr. Clump," she said, " no efforts of mine have 
been wanting to restore our dear invalid, whom the ingratitude of her 
nephew has laid on the bed of sickness, /never shrink from personal 
discomfort : /never refuse to sacrifice myself." 

" Tour devotion, it must be confessed, is admirable," Mr. Clump says, 
with a low bow ; " but — " 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 167 

" I have scarcely closed my eyes since my arrival : I give up sleep, health, 
every comfort, to my sense of duty. When my poor James Was in the 
small-pox, did I allow any hireling to nurse him? No." 

" You did what became an excellent mother, my dear Madam — the best 
of mothers ; but — " 

" As the mother of a family and the wife of an English clergyman, I 
humbly trust that my principles are good," Mrs. Bute said, with a happy 
solemnity of conviction ; " and, as long as Nature supports me, never, 
never, Mr. Clump, will I desert the post of duty. Others may bring that 
gray head with sorrow to the bed of sickness, (here Mrs. Bute, waving her 
hand, pointed to one of old Miss Crawley's coffee-coloured fronts, which 
was perched on a stand in the dressing-room), but I will never quit it. 
Ah, Mr. Clump ! I fear, I know that that couch needs spiritual as well as 
medical consolation." 

" What I was going to observe, mv dear Madam," — here the resolute 
Clump once more interposed with a bland air — "what I was going to 
observe when yon gave utterance to sentiments which do you so much , 
honour, was that I think you alarm yourself needlessly about our kind 
friend, and sacrifice your own health too prodigally in her favour." 

" I would lay down my life for my duty, or for any member of my 
husband's family," Mrs. Bute interposed. 

" Yes, Madam, if need were ; but we don't want Mrs. Bute Crawley to 
be a martyr," Clump said gallantly. " Dr. Squills and myself have both 
considered Miss Crawley's case with every anxiety and care, as you may 
suppose. We see her low-spirited and nervous ; family events have agi- 
tated her." 

" Her nephew will come to perdition," Mrs. Crawley cried. 

" Have agitated her : and you arrived like a guardian angel, my dear 
Madam, a positive guardian angel, I assure you, to soothe her under 
the pressure of calamity. But Dr. Squills and I were thinking that our 
amiable friend is not in such a state as renders confinement to her bed 
necessary. She is depressed, but this confinement perhaps adds to her 
depression. She should have change, fresh air, gaiety ; the most delight- 
ful remedies in the pharmacopoeia," Mr. Clump said, grinning and showing 
his handsome teeth. " Persuade her to rise, dear Madam ; drag her from 
her couch and her low spirits ; insist .upon her taking little drives. They 
will restore the roses too to your cheeks, if I may so speak to Mrs. Bute 
Crawley." 

" The sight of her horrid nephew casually in the Park, where I am told 
the wretch drives with the brazen partner of his crimes," Mrs. Bute said, 
(letting the cat of selfishness out of the bag of secrecy), " would cause her 
such a shock, that we should have to bring her back to bed again. She 
must not go out, Mr. Clump. . She shall not go out as long as I remain 
to watch over her. And as for my health, what matters it? I give it 
cheerfully, Sir. I sacrifice it at the altar of my duty." 

"Upon my word, Madam," Mr. Clump now said bluntly, "I won't 
answer for her life if she remains locked up in that dark room. She is so 
nervous that we may lose her any day ; and if you wish Captain Crawley 
±o be her heir, I warn you frankly, Madam, that you are doing your very . 
best to serve him." 



168 VANITY FAIR. 



" Gracious mercy !. is her life in danger?" Mrs. Bute cried. " Why, 
why, Mr. Clump, did you not inform me sooner?" 

The night before, Mr. Clump and Dr. Squills had had a consultation (over 
a bottle of wine at the house of Sir Lapin Warren, whose lady was about 
to present him with a thirteenth blessing), regarding Miss Crawley and 
her case. 

" What a little harpy that woman from Hampshire is, Clump," Squills 
remarked, " that has' seized upon old Tilly Crawley. Devilish good 
Madeira." 

" What a fool Eawdon Crawley has been," Clump replied, " to go and 
marry a governess ! There was something about the girl, too." 

" Green eyes, fair skin, pretty figure, famous frontal development," 
Squills remarked. " There is something about her ; and Crawley teas a 
fool, Squills." 
' "A d — — fool — always was," the apothecary replied. 

" Of course the old girl will fling him over," said the physician, and 
after a pause added, " She'll cut up well, I suppose." 

" Cut up," says Clump with a grin ; " I wouldn't have her cut up for 
two hundred a year." 

" That Hampshire woman will kill her in two months, Clump, my boy, 
if she stops about her," Dr. Squills said. "Old woman; full feeder; 
nervous subject; palpitation of the heart;' pressure on the brain; apo- 
plexy ; off' she goes. Get her up, Squills ; get her out : or I would'nt 
give many weeks' purchase for- your two hundred a year." And it was 
acting upon this hint that the worthy apothecary spoke with so much can- 
dour to Mrs. Bute Crawley. 

Having the old lady under her hand ; in bed; with nobody near, Mrs. 
Bute had made more than one assault upon her, to induce her to alter her 
will. But Miss Crawley's usual terrors regarding death increased greatly 
when such dismal propositions were made to her, and Mrs. Bute saw that 
she must get her patient into cheerful spirits and health before she could 
hope to attain the pious object which she had in view. Whither to take 
her was the next puzzle. The only place where sh.3 is not likely to meet 
those odious Bawdons is at church, and that won't amuse her, Mrs. Bute 
justly felt. " We must go and visit our beautiful suburbs of London," 
she then thought. " I hear they are the most picturesque in the world ;'* 
and so she had a sudden interest for Hampstead, and Hornsey, and found 
that Dulwich had great charms for her, and getting her victim into her 
carriage, drove her to those rustic spots, beguiling the little journeys with 
conversations about Eawdon and his wife, and telling every story to the 
old lady which could add to her indignation against this pair of reprobates. 

Perhaps Mrs. Bute pulled the string unnecessarily tight. Tor though 
she worked up Miss Crawley to a proper dislike of her disobedient nephew, 
the invalid had a great hatred and secret terror of her victimizer, and • 
panted to escape from her. After a brief space, she rebelled against High- 
gate and Hornsey utterly. She would go into the Park. Mrs. Bute knew 
they would meet the abominable Eawdon there, and she was right. One 
day in the ring, Eawdon's stanhope came in sight ; Eebecca was seated by 
him. In the enemy's equipage Miss Crawley occupied her usual place, 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 169 

with Mrs. Bute on her left, the poodle and Miss Briggs on the back seat. 
It was a nervous moment, and Bebecca's heart beat quick as she recognised 
the carriage ; and as the two vehicles crossed each other in the line, she 
clasped her hands, and looked towards the spinster with a face of agonised 
attachment and devotion. Bawdon himself trembled, and his face grew 
purple behind his dyed mustachios. Only old Briggs was moved in the 
other carriage, and cast her great eyes nervously towards her old friends. 
Miss Crawley's bonnet was resolutely turned towards the Serpentine. Mrs, 
Bute happened to be in ecstacies with the poodle, and was calling him a 
Httle darling, and a sweet little zoggy, and a pretty pet. The carriages 
moved on, each in his line. 

" Done, by Jove," Bawdon said to his wife. 

" Try once more, Bawdon," Bebecca answered. " Could not you lock your 
wheels into theirs, dearest?" 

Bawdon had not the heart for that manoeuvre. ^Yhen the carriages 
met again, he stood up in his stanhope ; he raised his hand ready to doff 
his hat ; he looked with all his eyes. But this time Miss Crawley's face 
was not turned away ; she and Mrs. Bute looked him full in the face, and 
cut their nephew pitilessly. He sank back in his seat with an oath, and 
striking out of the ring, dashed away desperately homewards. 
- It was a gallant and decided triumph for Mrs. Bute. But she felt the 
danger of many such meetings, as she saw the evident nervousness of Miss 
Crawley ; and she determined that it was most necessary for her dear 
friend's health, that they should leave town for a while, and recommended 
Brighton very strongly. 



CHAPTER XX. 



IN "WHICH CAPTAIN DOBBIN ACTS AS THE MESSENGER OF HYMEN. 

ITHOUT knowing how, Captain Wil- 
liainDobbin found himself the great 
promoter, arranger, and manager of 
the match between George Osborne 
and Amelia. But for him it never 
woidd have taken place : he could 
not but confess as much to himself, 
and smiled rather bitterly as he 
thought that he of all men in the 
world should be the person upon 
whom the care of this marriage had 
fallen. But though indeed the con- 
ductingof this negotiation was about 
as painful a task as could be set to 
him, yet when he had a duty to 
perform, Captain Dobbin was accus- 
tomed to go through it without 
many words or much hesitation ; 
and, having made up his mind completely, that if Miss Sedley was balked 
of her husband she would die of the disappointment, he was determined to 
use all his best endeavours to keep her alive. 

I forbear to enter into minute particulars of the interview between 
George and Amelia, when the former was brought back to the feet (or 
shoidd we venture to say the arms ?) of his young mistress by the inter- 
vention of his friend honest William. A much harder heart than George's 




would have melted at the 



sight 



of that sweet face so sadlv ravaged b> r 



grief and despair, and at the simple tender accents in which she told her 
little broken-hearted story : but as she did not faint when her mother, 
trembling, brought Osborne to her ; and as she only gave relief to her 
overcharged grief, by laying her head on her lover's shoulder and there 
weeping for a while the most tender, copious, and refreshing tears — old 
Mrs. Sedley, too greatly relieved, thought it was best to leave the young 
persons to themselves ; and so quitted Emmy crying over George's hand, 
and kissing it humbly, as if it were her supreme chief and master, and as 
if she were quite a guilty and unworthy person needing every favour and 
grace from him. 

This prostration and sweet unrepining obedience exquisitely touched 
and flattered George Osborne. He saw a slave before him in that simple 
yielding faithful creature, and his soul witlun him thrilled secretly some- 
how at the knowledge of his power. He would be generous-minded, 
Sidtan as he was, and raise up this kneeling Esther and make a queen of 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 171 

her : besides, her sadness and beauty touched him as much as her sub- 
mission, and so he cheered her, and raised her up and forgave her, so to 
speak. All her hopes and feelings, which were dying and withering, this 
her sun having been removed from her, bloomed again and at once, its light 
being restored. You would scarcely have recognised the beaming little 
face upon Amelia's pillow that night as the one that was laid there the 
night before, so wan, so Hfeless, so careless of all round about. The 
honest Irish maid-servant, delighted with the change, asked leave to 
kiss the face that had grown all of a sudden so rosy. Amelia put her 
arms round the girl's neck and kissed her with all her heart, like a child. 
She was little more. She had that night a sweet refreshing sleep, like 
one — and what a spring of inexpressible happiness as she woke in the 
morning sunshine ! 

" He will be here again to-day," Amelia thought. ■ " He is the greatest 
and best of men." And the fact is, that George thought he was one of the 
srenerousest creatures alive : and that he , was making a tremendous 
sacrifice in marrying this young creature. 

While she and Osborne were having their delightful tete-a-tete above 
stairs, old Mrs. Sedley and Captain Dobbin were conversing below upon - 
the state of the affairs, and the chances and future arrangements of the 
young people. . Mrs. Sedley having brought the two lovers together and 
left them embracing each other with all their might, like a true woman, 
was of opinion that no power on earth would induce Mr. Sedley to consent 
to the match between his daughter and the son of a man who had so 
shamefully, wickedly, and monstrously treated him. And she told a long 
story about happier days and their earlier splendours, when Osborne lived 
in a very humble way in the New Eoad, and his wife was too glad to 
receive some of Jos's little baby things, with which Mrs. Sedley accom- 
modated her at the birth of one of Osborne's own children. The fiendish 
ingratitude of that man, she was sure, had broken Mr. S.'s heart : and as 
for a marriage, he would never, never, never, never consent. 

" They must run away together, Ma'am," Dobbin said, laughing, " and 
follow the example of Captain Rawdon Crawley, and Miss Emmy's friend 
the little. governess." Was it possible ? Well she never! Mrs. Sedley 
was all excitement about this news. She wished that Blenkinsop were 
here to hear it : Blenkinsop always mistrusted that Miss Sharp. — What an 
escape Jos had had ! and she described the already well-known love- 
passages between Rebecca and the Collector of Boggleywollah. 

It was not, however, Mr. Sedley's wrath which Dobbin feared, so much 
as that of the other parent concerned, and he owned that he had a very 
considerable doubt and anxiety, respecting .the behaviour of the black- 
browed old tyrant of a Bussia merchant in Russell Square. He has for- 
bidden the match peremptorily Dobbin thought. He knew what a savage 
determined man Osborne was, and how he stuck by his word. " The only 
- chance George has of reconcilement," argued his friend, " is by distinguish- 
ing himself in the coming campaign. If he dies they both go together. If 
he fails in distinction — what then ? He has some money, from his mother, 
I have heard — enough to purchase his majority — or he must sell out and 
go and dig in Canada or rough it in a cottage in the country." With such 



172 VANITY FAIE. 



a partner Dobbin thought he would not mind Siberia — and, strange to say, 
this absurd and utterly imprudent young fellow never for a moment con- 
sidered that the want, of means to keep a nice carriage and horses, and of 
an income which should enable its possessors to entertain their friends 
genteelly, ought to operate as bars to the union of George and Miss Sedley. 

It was these weighty considerations which made him think too that the 
marriage should take place as quickly as possible. Was he anxious him- 
self, I' wonder, to have it over? — as people, when death has occurred, like 
to press forward the funeral, or when a parting is resolved upon, hasten it. 
It is certain that Mr. Dobbin, having taken the matter in hand, was most 
extraordinarily eager in the conduct of it. He urged on George the 
necessity of immediate action : he showed the' chances of reconciliation 
with his father, which a favourable mention of his name in the Gazette 
must bring about. If need were he would go himself and brave both the 
fathers in the business. At. all events, he besought George- to go through 
with it before the orders came, which everybody expected, for the 
departure of the regiment from England on foreign service. 

Bent upon these hymeneal projects, and with the applause and consent 
of Mrs. Sedley, who did not care to break the matter personally to her 
husband, Mr. Dobbin went to seek John Sedley at his house of call in the 
City, the Tapioca Coffee-house, where, since his own offices were shut up, 
and fate had overtaken him, the poor broken-down old gentleman used to 
betake himself daily, and write letters and receive them, and tie them up 
into mysterious bundles, several of which he carried in the flaps of his coat. 
I don't know anything more dismal than that business and bustle and 
mystery of a ruined man : those letters from the wealthy which he shows 
you : those worn greasy documents promising support and offering con- 
dolence which he places wistfully before you, and on which he builds his 
hopes of restoration and future fortune. My beloved reader has no doubt 
in the course of his experience been waylaid by many such a luckless com- 
panion. He takes you into the corner; he has his bundle of papers out 
of his gaping coat pocket ; and the tape off, and the string in his mouth, 
and the favourite letters selected and laid before: you ; and who does not 
know the sad eager half-crazy look which he fixes on yon with his 
hopeless eyes ? 

Changed into a man of this sort, Dobbin found the once florid, jovial, 
and prosperous John Sedley. His coat, that used to be so glossy and trim, 
was white at the seams, and the buttons showed the copper. His face 
had fallen in, and was unshorn ; his frill and neckcloth hung limp under 
his bagging waistcoat. When he used to treat the boys in old days at a 
coffee-house, he would shout and laugh louder than anybody there, and 
have all the waiters skipping round him ; it was quite painful to see how 
humble and civil he was to John of the Tapioca, a blear-eyed old attendant 
in dingy stockings and cracked pumps, whose business it was to serve- 
glasses of wafers, and bumpers of ink in pewter, and slices of paper to the 
frequenters of this dreary house of entertainment, where nothing else 
seemed to be consumed. As for William Dobbin, whom he had tipped 
repeatedly in his youth, and who had been the old gentleman's butt on a 
thousand occasions, old Sedley gave his hand to him in a very hesitating 




y/y\^//', 



{WS/'tf f// //(£ ■^/f/ytc 



vr 



''/■l< 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 173 

humble manner now, and called him " Sir." A feeling of.shame and remorse 
took possession of William Dobbin. as the broken old man so received and 
addressed him, as if he himself had been . somehow guilty of the misfor- 
tunes which had brought Sedley so low. 

"I am very glad to see you, Captain. Dobbin, Sir," says he, after a 
skulking look or two at his visitor (whose lanky figure and military appear- 
ance caused some excitement likewise to twinkle in the blear eyes of the 
waiter in the cracked dancing pumps, and awakened the old lady in black, 
who dozed among the mouldy old coffee-cups in the bar), "How is the 
worthy alderman, and my lady, your excellent mother, Sir ?" He looked 
round at the waiter, as he said, "My lady," as much as to say, " Hark ye, 
John, I have friends still, and persons of rank and reputation, too." "Are 
you come to do anything in my way, sir ? My young friends Dale and 
Spiggot do all my business for me now, until my new offices are ready ; 
for I'm only here temporarily, you know, Captain. What can we do for 
} T ou, sir ? Will you like to take anything ? " 

Dobbin, with a great deal of hesitation and stuttering, protested that 
he was not in the least hungry or thirsty ; that he had no business to 
transact ; that he only came to ask if Mr. Sedley was well, and' to shake 
hands with an old friend; and, he added, with a desperate perversion of 
truth, "My mother is very well — that is, she's been very unwell, and is 
only waiting for the first fine day to go out and call upon Mrs. Sedley. 
Howis Mrs. Sedley, Sir ? I hope she's quite well." And here he paused, 
reflecting on his own consummate hypocrisy ; for the day was as fine, and 
the sunshine as bright as it ever. is in Coffin Court, where the Tapioca 
Coffee-house is situated; and Mr. Dobbin remembered. that he .had seen 
Mrs. Sedley himself only an hour before, having driven Osborne down to 
Fulham in his gig, and left him there tete-a-tete with Miss Amelia. 

"My wife will be very happy to see her ladyship," Sedley replied, 
pulling out his papers. " I've a very kind letter here from your father, 
Sir, and beg my respectful compliments .to him. Lady D^ will find us in 
rather a smaller house than we were accustomed to receive our friends in ; 
but it's snug, and the change of air does "good to my daughter, who was 
suffering in town rather— you remember bttle Emmy, Sir ?— yes,' suffering 
a good deal." The old gentleman's eyes were wandering as he spoke, 
and he was thinking of something else, as he sate thrumming 011 his papers 
and fumbling at the worn red tape. 

"You're a military man," he went on; "I ask you, Bill Dobbin, could 
any man ever have speculated upon the return of that Corsican scoundrel 
from Elba ? When the allied sovereigns were here last year, and we gave 
'em that dinner in the City, Sir, and we saw the Temple of Concord, and 
the fireworks, and the Chinese bridge in St. James's Park, could any 
sensible man suppose that peace was'nt really concluded, after we'd 
actually sung Te Deum for it, Sir ? Task you, William, could I suppose 
that the Emperor of Austria was a damned traitor — a traitor, and nothing 
more ? I don't mince words — a double-faced infernal traitor and schemer, 
who meant to have his son-in-law back all along. And I say that the 
escape of Boney from Elba was a damned imposition and plot, Sir, in 
which half the powers of Europe were concerned, to bring the funds down, 



174 VANITY FAIE. 



and to ruin this country. That's why I'm here, Willianl. ; That's why 
my name 's in the Gazette. Why, Sir ? — because I trusted the Emperor of 
Eussia and the Prince Kegent. Look here. Look at my papers. Look 
what the funds were on the 1st of March — what the French fives were 
when I bought for the account. And what they 're at now. There was 
collusion, Sir, or that villain never would have escaped. Where was the 
English Commissioner who allowed him to get away ? He ought to be 
shot, Sir — brought to a court-martial, and shot, by Jove." 

" We 're going to hunt Boney out, Sir," Dobbin said, rather alarmed at 
the fury of the old man, the veins of whose forehead began to swell, and 
who sate (humming his papers with his clenched fist. " We are going to 
hunt him out, Sir — the Duke 's in Belgium already, and we expect march- 
ing orders every day." 

" Give him no quarter. Bring back the villain's head, Sir. Shoot the 

coward down, Sir," Sedley roared. " I 'd enlist myself, by ; but I'm 

a broken old man — ruined by that damned scoundrel — and by a parcel of 
swindling thieves in this country whom I made, Sir, and who are rolling 
in their carriages now," he added, with a break in his voice. 

Dobbin was not a little affected by the sight of this once kind old friend, 
crazed almost with misfortune and raving with senile anger. Pity the 
fallen gentleman : you to whom money and fair repute are the chiefest 
good ; and so, surely, are they in Vanity Fair. 

" Yes," he continued, " there are some vipers that you warm, and they 
sting you afterwards. There are some beggars that you put on horseback, 
and they 're the first to ride you down." -You know whom I mean, William 
Dobbin, my boy. I mean a 'purse-proud- villain in Kussell Square, whom 
I knew without a shilling, and whom I pray and hope to see a beggar as 
he was when I befriended him." 

"I have heard something of this, Sir, from my friend George,". Dobbin 
said, anxious to come to his point. " The quarrel between you and his father 
has cut him up a great deal, Sir. Indeed, I'm the bearer of a message 
from him." 

" 0, that's your errand, is it ? " cried the old man, jumping up. 
"What! perhaps he condoles with me, does he? Very kind of him, the 
stiff-backed prig with his dandified airs and West-end _ swagger. He's 
hankering about my house, is he still? " If my son had the courage of a 
man, he 'd shoot him. He 's as big a villain as his father. I won't have 
his name mentioned in my house. I curse the day that ever I let him into 
it ; and I 'd rather see my daughter dead at my feet than married to him." 

" His father's harshness is not George's fault, Sir. Your daughter's 
love for him is as much your doing as his. Who arc you, that you are to 
play with two young people's affections and break their hearts at your will ? " 

" Eecollect it 's not his father that breaks the match off," old Sedley 
cried out. " It 's I that forbid it. That family and mine are separated 
for ever. I 'm fallen low, but not so low as that : no, no. And so you 
may tell the whole race — son, and father, and sisters, and all." 

" It 's my belief, Sir, that you have not the power or the right to sepa- 
rate those two," Dobbin answered in a low voice ; " and that if you don't 
give your daughter your consent, it will be her duty to marry without it. 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 



l/o 



There 's no reason she should die or live miserably because you are "wrong- 
headed. To my thinking she 's just as much married as if the banns had 
been read in all the churches in London. And what better answer can 
there be to Osborne's charges against you, as charges there are, than thtt 
his son claims to enter your family and marry your daughter ? " 

A light of something like satisfaction seemed to break over old Sedley 
as this point was put to him : but he still persisted that with his consent 
the marriage between Amelia and George should never take place. 

"We must doit without," Dobbin said, siniling, and told Mr. Sedley, as 
lie had told Mrs. Sedley in the day, before, the story of Rebecca's elopement 
with Captain Crawley. It evidently amused the old gentleman. "You're 
terrible fellows, you Captains," said he, tying up his papers ; and-his face 
wore something like a smile upon it, to the astonishment of the blear- 
eyed waiter who now entered, and had never seen such an expression upon 
Sedley's countenance since he had used the dismal coffee-house. 

The idea of hitting his enemy Osborne such a blow soothed, perhaps, 
the old gentleman : and, their colloquy presently ending, he and Dobbin 
parted pretty good friends. 




"My sisters say she has diamonds as big as pigeons' eggs," George said 
laughing. " How they must set off her complexion ! A perfect illumina- 
tion it must be when her jewels are on her neck. Her jet-black hair is 
as curly as Sambo's. I dare say she wore a nose-ring when she went to 
court ; and with a plume of feathers in her top-knot she would look a perfect 
Belle Sauvage." 

George, in conversation with Amelia, was Tallying the appearance of a 
young lady of whom his father and sisters had lately made the acquaint- 
ance, and who was an object of vast respect to the Russell Square family. 
She was reported to have I don't know how many plantations in the 
West Indies ; a deal of money in the funds ; . three stars to her name in 



176 VANITY FAIE. 



the East India stockholders' list. She had a mansion in Surrey, and a 
house in Portland Place. . The name of the rich West India heiress had 
been mentioned with applause in the Morning Post. Mrs. Haggistoun, 
Colonel Haggistoun's widow, her relative, " chaperoned " her, and kept her 
house. She was just from school, where she had completed her education, 
and George and his sisters had met her at an evening party at old Hulker's 
house, Devonshire Place (Hulker, Bullock, & Co. were long the correspon- 
dents of her house in the West Indies), and the girls had made the most 
cordial advances to her, which the heiress had received with great good 
humour. An orphan in her position — with her money — so interesting! 
the Misses Osborne said. They were full of their new friend when they 
returned from the Hulker ball to Miss Wirt, their companion : they had 
made arrangements for continually meeting, and had the carriage and 
drove to see her the very next day. Mrs. Haggistoun, Colonel Haggis- 
toun's widow, a relation of Lord Binkie, and always talking of him, struck 
the dear unsophisticated girls as rather haughty, and too much inclined to 
talk about her great relations : but Bhoda was everything they could wish 
— the frankest, kindest, ' most agreeable creature — wanting a little polish, 
but so good-natured. The girls Christian-named each other at once. 

" You should have seen her dress for court, Emmy," Osborne cried, 
laughing. " She came to my sisters to show it off, before she was pre- 
sented in state by my Lady Binkie, the Haggistoun's kinswoman. She 's 
related to every one, that Haggistoun. Her diamonds blazed out like Vaux- 
hall on the night we were there. (Do you remember Yauxhall, Emmy, 
and Jos singing to his dearest diddle iddle arling?) Diamonds and 
mahogany, my dear ! think what an advantageous contrast — and the white 
feathers in her hair — I mean in her wool. She had ear-rings like chande- 
liers ; you might have lighted 'em up, by Jove — and a yellow satin train 
that streeled after her like the tail of a comet." 

"How old is she?" asked Emmy, to whom George was rattling away 
regarding this dark paragon, on the morning of their re-union — rattling 
away as no other man in the world surely could. 

"Why, the Black Princess, though she has only just left school, must 
be two or three and twenty. And you should see the hand she writes ! 
Mrs. Colonel Haggistoun usually writes her letters, but in a moment of 
confidence, she put pen to paper for my sisters ; she spelt satin satting, 
and Saint James's, Saint Jams." 

"Why, surely it must be Miss Swartz, the parlour boarder," Emmy 
said, remembering that good-natured young Mulatto girl, who had been 
so hysterically affected when Amelia left Miss Pinkerton's academy. 

"The very name," George said. " Her father was a German Jew — a 
slave-owner they say — connected with the Cannibal Islands in some way 
or other. He died last year, and Miss Pinkerton has finished her educa- 
tion. She can play two pieces on the piano ; she knows three songs ; she 
can write Avhen Mrs. Haggistoun is by to spell for her; and Jane and 
Maria already have got to love her as a sister." 

"I wish they would have loved me," said Emmy, wistfully. "They 
were always very cold to me." 

" Mv dear child, thev would have loved you if you had had two hundred 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 177 

thousand pounds," George replied. "That is the way in which they have 
been brought up. Ours is a ready-money society. "We live among 
bankers and city big-wigs, and be hanged to them, and every man, as he 
talks to you, is jingling his guineas in his pocket. There is that jackass 
Fred Bullock, is going to marry Maria — there 's Goldmore, the East India 
Director, there 's Dipley, in the tallow trade — our trade," George said, 
with an uneasy laugh and a blush. " Curse the whole pack of money- 
grubbing vulgarians ! I fall asleep at their great heavy dinners. I feel 
ashamed in my father's great stupid parties. I've been accustomed to live 
with gentlemen, and men of the world and fashion, Emmy, not with a 
parcel of turtle-fed tradesmen. Dear little woman, you are the only person 
of our set who ever looked, or thought, or spoke like a" lady : and you do 
it because you 're an angel and can't help it. Don't remonstrate. You are 
the only lady. Didn't Miss Crawley remark it, who has lived in the best 
company in Europe ? And as for Crawley, of the Life Guards, hang it, 
he 's a line fellow: and I like him for marrying the girl he had chosen." 

Amelia admired Mr. Crawley very much, too, for this ; and trusted 
Eebecca woidd be happy with him, and hoped (with a laugh) Jos would 
be consoled. And so the pair went on prattling, as in quite early days. 
Amelia's confidence being perfectly restored to her, though she expressed 
a great deal of pretty jealousy about Miss Swartz, and professed to be 
dreadfully frightened— like a hypocrite as she was — lest George should 
forget her for the heiress and her money and her estates in Saint Kitts. 
But the fact is, she was a great deal too happy to have fears or doubts or 
misgivings of any sort : and having George at her side again, was not 
afraid of any heiress or beauty, or indeed of any sort of danger. 

When Captain Dobbin came back in the afternoon to these people — 
which he did with a great deal of sympathy for them — it did his heart 
good to see how Amelia had grown young again — how she laughed, and 
chirped, and sang familiar old songs at the piano, which were only inter- 
rupted by the bell from without proclaiming Mr. Sedley's return' from the 
City, before whom George received a signal to retreat. 

Beyond the first smile of recognition — and even that was an hypocrisy, 
for she thought his arrival- rather provoking — Miss Sedley did not once 
notice Dobbin during his visit. But he was content, so that he saw her 
happy ; and thankful to have been the means of making her so. 



CHAPTER XXI. 




A QUARREL ABOUT AN HEIRESS. 

OVE may be felt for any young 
lady endowed with such qualities 
as Miss Swartz possessed; and a 
great dream of ambition entered 
into old Mr. Osborne's soul, which 
she was to realize. He encouraged, 
with the utmost enthusiasm and 
friendliness, his daughter's amiable 
attachment to the young heiress, 
and protested that it gave him the 
sincerest pleasure as a father to 
see the love of his girls so well 
disposed. 

" You won't find," he would say 
to MissRhoda, "that splendour and 
rank to which you are accustomed 
at the West End, my dear Miss, at 
our humble mansion in Bussell 
Square. My daughters are plain, 
disinterested girls, but their hearts are in the right place, and they've con- 
ceived an attachment for you which does them honour — I say, which does 
them honour. I 'm a plain, simple, humble British merchant — an honest 
one, as my respected friends Hulker & Bullock will vouch, who were the 
correspondents of your late lamented father. Tou '11 find us a united, 
simple, happy, and I think I may say respected, family — a plain table, a 
plain people, but a warm welcome, my dear Miss Rhoda — Rhoda, let me 
say, for my heart warms to you, it does really. I 'm a frank man, and I 
like you. A glass of Champagne! Hicks, Champagne to Miss Swartz." 

There is little doubt that old Osborne believed all he said, and that the 
girls were qiiite earnest in then- protestations of affection for Miss Swartz. 
People in Vanity Fair fasten on to rich folks quite naturally. If the 
simplest people are disposed to look not a little kindly on great Prosperity, 
(for I defy any member of the British public to say that the notion of 
Wealth has not something awful and pleasing to him; and you, if you arc 
told that the man next you at dinner has got half a million, not to look 
at him with a certain interest ;) — if the simple look benevolently on money, 
how much more do your old worldlings regard it ! Their affections rush 
out to meet and welcome money. Their kind sentiments awaken spon- 
taneously towards the interesting possessors of it. I know some respect- 
able people who don't consider themselves at liberty to indulge in friend- 
ship for any individual who has not a certain competency, or place in 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 179 

society. They give a loose to their feelings on proper occasions. And 
the proof is, that the major part of the Osborne family, who had not, in 
fifteen years, been able to get up a hearty regard for Amelia Sedley, became 
as fond of Miss Swartz in the course of a single evening as the most 
romantic advocate of friendship at first-sight could desire. 

What a match for George she'd be (the sister and Miss Wirt agreed), 
and how much better than that insignificant little Ameha ! Such a 
dashing young fellow as he is, with his good looks, rank, and accomplish- 
ments, would be the very husband for her. Visions of balls in Portland 
Place, presentations at Court, and introductions to half the peerage, filled 
the minds of the voung ladies : who talked of nothing but George and his 
grand acquaintances to their beloved new friend. 

Old Osborne thought she would be a great match, too, for his son." He 
should leave the army ; he should go into Parliament ; he should cut a 
figure in the fashion and in the state. His blood boiled with honest 
British exultation, as he saw the name of Osborne ennobled in the person 
of his son, and thought that he might be the progenitor of a glorious Une 
of baronets. He worked in the City and on 'Change, until he knew 
everything relating to the fortune of the heiress, how her money was 
placed, and where her estates lay. Young Pred Bullock, one of his chief 
informants, would have liked to make a bid for her himself (it was so the 
young banker expressed it), only he was booked to Maria Osborne. But 
not being able to secure her as a wife, the disinterested Fred quite - 
approved of her as a sister-in-law. " Let George cut in directly and win 
her," was his advice. " Strike while the iron 's hot," you know — while 

she's fresh to the town \ in a few weeks some d fellow from the "West 

End will come in with a title and a rotten rent-roll and cut all us City 
men out, as Lord Pitzrufus did last year with Miss Grogram, who was 
actually engaged to Podder, of Podder & Brown's. The sooner it is done 
the better, Mr. Osborne ; them's my sentiments," the wag said ; though, 
when Osborne had left the bank parlour, Mr. Bullock remembered Amelia, 
and what a pretty girl she was, and how attached to George Osborne ; and 
he gave up at least ten seconds of his valuable time to regretting the 
misfortune which had befallen that unlucky young woman. 

While thus George Osborne's good feelings, and his good friend and 
genius, Dobbin, were carrying back the truant to Ameba's feet, George's 
parent and sisters were arranging this splendid match for him, which they 
never dreamed he would resist. 

When the elder Osborne gave what he called " a hint," there was no 
possibility for the most obtuse to mistake his meaning. He called kicking 
a footman down stairs, a hint to the latter to leave his service. With his 
usual frankness and debcacy, he told Mrs. Haggistoun that he would give 
her a check for ten thousand pounds on the day his son was married to 
her ward ; and called that proposal a hint, and considered it a very dex- 
terous piece of diplomacy. He gave George finally such another hint 
regarding the heiress ; and ordered him to marry her out of hand, as he 
woidd have ordered his butler to draw a cork, or his clerk to write a 
letter. 

This imperative hint disturbed George a good deal. He was in the 

k2 



180 VANITY FAIR. 



very first enthusiasm and delight of his second courtship of xlmelia, which 
was inexpressibly sweet to him. The contrast of her manners and appear- 
ance with those of the heiress, made the idea of a union with the latter 
appear doubly ludicrous and odious. Carriages and opera-boxes, thought 
he ; fancy being seen in them by the side of such a Mahogany Charmer as 
that ! Add to all, that the Junior Osborne was quite as obstinate as the 
Senior : when he wanted a thing, quite as firm in his resolution to get 
it ; and quite as violent when angered, as his father in his most stern 
moments. 

On the first day when his father formally gave him the hint that he was 
to place his affections at Miss Swartz's feet, George temporised with the 
old gentleman. "You should have thought of the matter sooner, Sir," 
he said. " It can't be done now, when we 're expecting every day to go 
on foreign service. Wait till my return, if I do return ;" and then he 
represented, that the time when the regiment was daily expecting to quit 
England, was exceedingly ill-chosen: that the few days a week during 
which they were still to remain at home, must be devoted to business and 
not to love-making : time enough for that when he came home with his 
majority; " for, I promise you," said he, with a satisfied air, "that one way 
or other you shall read the name of George Osborne in the Gazette.." 

The father's reply to this was founded upon the information which he 
had got in the City : that the West End chaps would infallibly catch hold 
of the heiress if any delay took place : that if he didn't many Miss S., he 
might at least have an engagement in writing, to come into effect when he 
returned to England ; and that a man who could get ten thousand a year 
by staying at home, was a fool to risk his life abroad. 

"So that you would have me shown up as a coward, Sir, and our name 
dishonoured for the sake of Miss Swartz's money," George interposed. 

This remark staggered the old gentleman ; but as he had to reply to it, 
and as his mind was nevertheless made up, he said, " You will dine here 
to-morrow, Sir, and every day Miss Swartz comes, you will be here to pay 
your respects to her. If you want for money, call upon Mr. Chopper." 
Thus a new obstacle was in George's way, to interfere with his plans 
regarding Amelia ; and about which he and Dobbin had more than one 
confidential consultation. His friend's opinion respecting the line of 
conduct which he ought to pursue, we know already. And as for Osborne, 
when he was once bent on a thing, a fresh obstacle or two only rendered 
him the more resolute. 

The dark object of the conspiracy into which the chiefs of the Osborne 
family had entered, was quite ignorant of all their plans regarding her 
(which, strange to say, her friend and chaperon did not divulge), and," 
taking all the young ladies' flattery for genuine sentiment, and being, as 
we have before had occasion to show, of a very warm and impetuous 
nature, responded to their affection with quite a tropical ardour. And if 
the truth may be told, I dare say that she too had some selfish attraction 
in the Bussell Square house ; and in a word, thought George Osborne a 
very nice young man. His whiskers had made an impression upon her, 
on the very first night she beheld them at the ball at Messrs. Hulkers; and, 



iiil 




',/ , . //'r/ 






A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 181 

as we know, she was not the first woman who had been charmed by them. 
George had an air at once swaggering and melancholy, langnid and fierce. 
He looked like a man who had passions, secrets, and private harrowing 
griefs and adventures. His voice was rich and deep. He would say it 
was a warm evening, or ask his partner to take an ice, with a tone as sad 
and confidential as if he were breaking her mother's death to her, or pre- 
luding a declaration of love. He trampled over all the young bucks of 
his father's circle, and was the hero among those third-rate men. Some 
few sneered at him and hated him. Some, like Dobbin, fanatically 
admired him. And his whiskers had began to do their work, and to curl 
themselves round the affections of Miss Swartz. 

Whenever there was a chance of meeting him in Bussell Square, that 
simple and good-natured young woman was quite in a flurry to see her 
dear Miss Osbornes. She went to great expenses in new gowns, and 
bracelets, and bonnets, and in prodigious feathers. She adorned her 
person with her utmost skill to please the Conqueror, and exhibited all 
her simple accompbshments to win his favour. The girls would ask her, 
with the. greatest gravity, for a little music, and she would sing her three 
songs and play her two little pieces as often as ever they asked, and with 
an always increasing pleasure to herself. During these delectable enter- 
tainments, -Miss Wirt and the chaperon sate by, and conned over the 
peerage, and talked about the nobility. 

The day after George had his hint from his father, and a short time 
before the hour of dinner, he was lolling upon a sofa in the drawing-room 
in a very becoming and perfectly natural attitude of melancholy. He had 
been, at his father's request, to Mr. Chopper in the city, (the old gentle- 
man, though he gave great sums to his son, would never specify any fixed 
allowance for liim, and rewarded him only as he was in the humour). He 
had then been to pass three hours with Amelia, his dear little Amelia, at 
Eulham ; and he came, home to find his sisters spread in starched muslin 
in the drawing-room, the dowagers cackling in the back-ground, and 
honest Swartz in her favourite amber-coloured satin, with turquoise- 
bracelets, countless rings, flowers, feathers, and all sorts of tags and gim- 
cracks, about as elegantly decorated as a she chimney-sweep on May day. 

The girls, after vain attempts to engage him in conversation, talked 
about fashions and the last drawing-room until he was perfectly sick of 
then chatter. He contrasted their behaviour with little Emmy's, — their 
shrill cracked voices with her tender ringing tones ; their attitudes and 
their elbows and their starch, with her humble soft movements and 
modest graces. Poor Swartz was seated in a place where Emmy had 
been accustomed to sit. Her bejewelled hands lay sprawling in her amber 
satin lap. Her tags and ear-rings twinkled, and her big eyes rolled about. 
She was doing nothing with perfect contentment, and thinking herself 
charming. Anything so becoming as the satin the sisters had never seen. 

"Dammy," George said to a confidential friend, "she looked like a 
China doll, which has nothing to do all day but to grin and wag its 
head. By Jove, Will, it was all I could do to prevent myself from throwing 
the sofa cushion at her." He restrained that exhibition of sentiment, 
however. 



182 



VANITY FAIR. 



The sisters began to play the Battle of Prague. " Stop that d- thing," 

George howled out in a fury from the sofa. " It makes me mad. You 
play us something, Miss Swartz, do. Sing something, anything but the 
Battle of Prague." 

" Shall I sing Blue Eyed Mary, or the air from the Cabinet ? " Miss 
Swartz asked. 

" That sweet thing from the Cabinet," the sisters said. 

" We 've had that," replied the misanthrope on the sofa. 

" I can sing Pluvy du Tajy," Swartz said, in a meek voice, " if I had 
the words." It was the last of the worthy young woman's collection. 

" 0, Fleuve du Tage," Miss Maria cried j " we have the song," and went 
to fetch the book in which it was. 

Now it happened that this song, then in the height of the fashion, had 
been given to the young ladies by a young friend of theirs, whose name was 
on the title, and Miss Swartz, having concluded the ditty with George's 
applause, (for he remembered that it was a favourite of Amelia's), was 
hoping for an encore perhaps, and fiddling with the leaves of the music, 
when her eye fell upon the title, and she saw " Ameha Sedley" written in 
the corner. 

"Lor!" cried Miss Swartz, spinning swiftly round on the music-stool, 




A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 183 

" is it my Amelia ? Amelia that was at Miss P.'s at Hammersmith ? I 
know it is. It 's her, and — Tell me about her — where is she ?" 

."Don't mention her," Miss Maria Osborne said hastily. " Her family 
has disgraced itself. Her father cheated papa, and as for her, she is never 
to be mentioned here." This was Miss Maria's return for George's rude- 
ness about the Battle of Prague. 

" Are you a friend of Amelia's ?" George said, bouncing up. " God 
bless you for it, Miss Swartz. Don't bebeve what the girls say. S7ie's 
not to blame at any rate. She's the best — " 

" You know you're not to speak about her, George," cried Jane. " Papa 
forbids it." 

"Who's to prevent me?" George cried out. " I will speak of her. I 
say she's the best, the kindest, the gentlest, the sweetest girl in England ; 
and that, bankrupt or no, my sisters are not fit to hold candles to her. 
If you like her, go and see her, Miss Swartz ; she wants friends now ; 
and I say, God bless everybody who befriends her. Anybody who speaks 
kindly of her is my friend ; anybody who speaks' against her is my enemy. 
Thank you, Miss Swartz ;" and he went up and wrung her hand. 

" George ! George ! " one of the sisters cried imploringly. 

" I say," George said fiercely, " I thank everybody who loves Amelia 
Sed — ". He stopped. Old Osborne was in the room with a face bvid with 
rage, and eyes like hot coals. 

, Though George had stopped in his sentence, yet, his blood being up, he 
was not to be cowed by all the generations of Osborne ; rallying instantly, 
he replied to the bullying look of his father, with another so indicative of 
resolution and defiance, that the elder man quailed in his turn, and looked 
away. He felt that the tussle was coming. " Mrs. Haggistoun, let me 
take you down to dinner," he said. " Give your arm to Miss Swartz, 
George," and they marched. '• ; 

" Miss Swartz, I love Amelia, and we've been engaged almost all our 
lives," Osborne said .to his partner ; and during all the dinner, George 
rattled on with a volubility which surprised himself, and made his father 
doubly nervous, for the fight which was to take place as soon as the ladies 
were gone. 

The difference between the pair was, that while the father was violent 
and a bully, the son had thrice the nerve and courage of the parent, and 
could not merely make an attack, but resist it; and finding that the 
moment was now come when the contest between him and his father was 
to be decided, he took his dinner with perfect coolness and appetite before 
the engagement began. Old Osborne, on the contrary, was nervous, and 
drank much. He 'floundered in his conversation with the ladies, his 
neighbours ; George's coolness only rendering him more angry. It made- 
him half mad to see the calm way in which George, flapping his napkin, 
and with a. swaggering bow, opened the door for the ladies to leave the 
room ; and filling himself a glass of wine, smacked it, and looked his father 
full in the face, as if to, say, "Gentlemen of the Guard, fire first." The 
old man also took a supply of ammunition, but"- his decanter cbnked 
against the glass as he tried to fill it. 

After giving a great heave, and with a purple choking face, he then 



184 VANITY FAIR. 



began. "How dare you, Sir, mention that person's name before Miss 
Swartz to-day, in my drawing-room? I ask you, Sir, how dare you do 
it?" 

" Stop, Sir," says George, " don't say dare, Sir. Dare isn't* a word to 
be used to a Captain in the British Army." 

" I shall say what I like to my son, Sir. I can cut him off with a shil- 
ling if I like. I can make him a beggar if I like. I will say what I like," 
the elder said. 

" I 'm a gentleman though I am your son, Sir," George answered 
haughtily. "Any communications which you have to make to me, or 
any orders which you may please to give, I beg may be couched in that 
kind of language which I am accustomed to hear." 

"Whenever the lad assumed his haughty manner, it always created either 
great awe or great irritation in the parent. Old Osborne stood in secret 
terror of his son as a better gentleman than himself; and perhaps my 
readers may have remarked in their experience of this Vanity Pair of ours, 
that there is no character which a low-minded man so much mistrusts, as 
that of a gentleman. 

" My father didn't give me the education you have had, nor the advan- 
tages you have had, nor the money you have had. If I had kept the 
company some folks have had through my means, perhaps my son wouldn't 
have any reason to -brag, Sir, of his superiority and West End airs (these 
words were uttered in the elder Osborne's most sarcastic tones). But it 
wasn't considered the part of a gentleman, in my time, for a man to insult 
his father. If I 'd done any such thing, mine would have kicked mc 
doAvn stairs, Sir." 

" I never insulted you, Sir. I said I begged you to remember your son 
was a gentleman as well as yourself. I know very well that you give me 
plenty of money," said George, (fingering a bundle of notes which lie had 
got in the morning from Mr. Chopper). " You tell it me often enough, 
Sir. There 's no fear of my forgetting it." 

" I wish you 'd remember other things as well, Sir," the sire answered. 
" I wish you 'd remember that in tins house — so long as you choose to 
honour it with your company, Captain — I 'm the master, and that name, 
and that that — that you — that I say — 

" That what, Sir?" George asked, with scarcely a sneer, filling another 
glass of claret. 

" ■ !" burst out his father with a screaming oath — " that the name 



o 



of those Sedleys never be mentioned here, Sir — not one of the Avhole 
damned lot of 'em, Sir." 

" It wasn't I, Sir, that introduced Miss Sedley's name. It was my 
sisters who spoke ill of her to Miss Swartz ; and by Jove I'll defend her 
wherever I go. Nobody shall speak lightly of that name in my presence. 
Our family has done her quite enough injury already, I think, and may 
leave off reviling her now she 's down. I '11 shoot any man but you who 
savs a word against her." 

" Go on, Sir, go on," the old gentleman said, his eyes starting out of 
his head. 

"Go on about what, Sir? about the Avay in which we've treated that 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 185 

angel of a girl ? Who told me to love her ? It was your doing. I might 
have chosen elsewhere, and looked higher, perhaps, than your society : but 
I obeved you. And now that her heart 's mine you give me orders to fling 
it away, and punish her, kill her perhaps — for the faults of other people. 
It's a shame, by Heavens," said George, working himself up into passion 
and enthusiasm as he proceeded, " to play at fast and loose with a young 
ghl's affections — and with such an angel as that — one so superior to the 
people amongst whom she lived that she might have excited envy, only 
she was so good and gentle, that it's a wonder anybody dared to hate her. 
If I desert her, Sir, do you suppose she forgets me ? " 

" I ain't going to have any of this dam sentimental nonsense and 
humbug here, Sir," the father cried out. " There shall be no beggar- 
marriages in my family. If you choose to fling away eight thousand a-year 
which you may have for the asking you ma/ do it : but by Jove you take 
your pack and walk out of this house, Sir. Will you do as I tell you, once 
for all, Sir, or will you not ? " 

" Marry that mulatto woman ? " George said, puUing up his shirt- 
collars. " I don't like the colour, sir. Ask the black that sweeps oppo- 
site Fleet Market, Sir. I'm not going to marry a Hottentot Venus." 

Mr. Osborne pulled frantically at the cord by winch he was accustomed 
to summon the butler when he wanted wine — and, almost black in the 
face, ordered that functionary to call a coach for Captain Osborne. 

" I 've done it," said George, coming into the Slaughters an hour after- 
wards, looking very pale. 

" What, my boy ?." says Dobbin. 

George told what had passed between his father and himself. 

" I '11 marry her to-morrow," he said with an oath. " I love her more 
every day, Dobbin." 



CHAPTER XXII. 



A MARRIAGE AND PART OP A HONEYMOON. 




NEMIES the most obstinate and cou- 
rageous can't hold out against starva- 
tion : so the elder Osborne felt himself 
pretty easy about his adversary in the 
encounter we have just described ; and 
as soon as George's supplies fell 
short, confidently expected his un- 
conditional submission. It was un- 
lucky, to be sure, that the lad should 
have secured a stock of provisions on 
the very day when the first encounter 
took place; but this relief was only 
temporary, old Osborne thought, and 
would but delay George's surrender. 
No communication passed between 
father and son for some days. The 
former was sulky at this silence, but 
not disquieted; for, as he said, he knew where he could put the screw 
upon George, and only waited the result of that operation. He told the 
sisters the upshot of the dispute between them, but ordered them to take 
no notice of the matter, and welcome George on his return as if nothing 
had happened. His cover was laid as usual every day, and perhaps the 
old gentleman rather anxiously expected him ; but he never came. Some 
one inquired at the Slaughter's regarding him, where it was said that he 
and his friend Captain Dobbin had left town. 

One gusty, raw day at the end of April, — the rain whipping the 
pavement of that ancient street where the old Slaughter's Coffee-house 
was once situated, — George Osborne came into the coffee-room, looking 
very haggard and pale ; although dressed rather smartly in a blue coat 
and brass buttons, and a neat buff waistcoat of the fashion of those days. 
Here was his friend Captain Dobbin, in blue and brass too, having aban- 
doned the military frock and French-grey trowsers, which were the usual 
coverings of his lanky person. 

Dobbin had been in the coffee-room for an hour or more. He had 
tried all the papers, but could not read them. He had looked at the 
clock many scores of times ; and at the street, where the rain was pattering, 
down, and the people as they clinked by in pattens, left long reflections- 
on the shining stones : he tattooed at the table : he bit his nails most 
completely, and nearly to the quick (he was accustomed to ornament his 
great big hands in this way) : he balanced the tea-spoon dexterously on 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. > 187 

the milk jug : upset it, &c. &c. ; and in fact showed those signs of dis- 
quietude, and practised those desperate attempts at amusement, which 
men are accustomed to employ when very anxious, and expectant, and 
perturbed in mind. 

Some of his comrades, gentlemen who used the room, joked him about 
the splendour of his costume and his agitation of manner. One asked 
him if he was going to be married ? Dobbin laughed, and said he would 
send his acquaintance (Major Wagstaff, of the Engineers) a piece of cake, 
when that event took place. At length Captain Osborne made his appear- 
ance, very smartly dressed, but very pale and agitated, as we have said. 
He wiped his pale face with a large yellow bandanna pocket-handkerchief 
that was prodigiously scented. He shook hands with Dobbin, looked at 
the clock, and told John, the waiter, to bring him some curagoa. Of this 
cordial he swallowed off a couple of glasses with nervous eagerness. His 
friend asked with some interest about his health. 

" Couldn't get a wink of sleep till daylight, Dob," said he. " Infernal 
headache and fever. Got up at nine, and went down to the Hummums 
for a bath. I say, Dob, I feel just as I did on the morning I went out 
with Socket at Quebec." • 

" So do I," William responded. " I was a deuced deal more nervous 
than you were that morning. You made a famous breakfast, I remember. 
Eat something now." 

" You 're a good old fellow, Will. I '11 drink your health, old boy, and 
farewell to — " : ■ 

"No, no; two glasses are enough," Dobbin interrupted him. "Here, 
take away the liqueurs, John. Have some cayenne-pepper with your 
fowl. Make haste though, for it is time we were there." 

It was about half-an-hour from twelve when this brief meeting and 
colloquy took place between the two captains. A coach, into which Cap- 
tain Osborne's servant put his master's desk and dressing-case, had been 
in waiting for some time ; and into this the two gentlemen hurried under 
an umbrella, and the valet mounted on the box, cursing the rain and the 
dampness of the coachman who was steaming beside him. " We shall 
find a better ti - ap than this at the chutch-door," says he ; " that 's a com- 
fort." And the carriage drove on, taking the road down Piccadilly, 
where Apsley House and St. George's Hospital wore red jackets still ; 
where there were oil-lamps ; where Achilles was not yet born ; nor the 
Pimlico arch raised ; nor the hideous equestrian monster which pervades 
it and the neighbourhood ; — and so they drove down by Brompton to a 
certain chapel near the Fulham road there. 

A chariot was in waiting with four horses ; likewise a coach of the kind 
called glass coaches. Only a veiy few idlers were collected on account of 
the dismal dismal rain. 

" Hang it!" said George, " I said only a pah - ." 

" My master would have four," said Mr. Joseph Sedley's servant, who 
was in waiting ; and he and Mr. Osborne's man agreed as they followed 
George and William into the church, that it was a " reg'lar shabby turn 
hout ; and with scarce so much as a breakfast or a wedding faviour." 

" Here you are," said our old friend, Jos Sedley, coming forward. 



188 VANITY FAIR. 



" You're five minutes late, George, my boy. What a clay, eli? Demmy, 
it 's like the commencement of the rainy season in Bengal. But you '"11 
find my carriage is water-tight. Come along, my mother and Emmy are 
in the vestry." 

Jos Sedley was splendid. He was fatter than ever. His shirt collars 
were higher ; his face was redder ; his shirt-frill flaunted gorgeously out of 
his variegated waistcoat. Varnished boots were not invented as yet ; but 
the Hessians on his beautiful legs shone so, that they must have been the 
identical pair in which the gentleman in the old picture xised to shave 
himself; and on his light green coat there bloomed a fine wedding favour, 
like a great white spreading magnolia. 

In a word, George had thrown the great cast. He was going to be 
married. Hence his pallor and nervousness — his sleepless night and 
agitation in the morning. I have heard people who have gone through 
the same thing own to the same emotion. After three or four ceremonies, 
you get accustomed to it, no doubt ; but the first dip, every body allows, 
is awful. 

The bride was dressed in a brown silk pebsse, (as Captain Dobbin has 
since informed me), and wore a straw bonnet with a pink ribbon: over the 
bonnet she had a veil of white Chantilly lace, a gift from Mr. Joseph 
Sedley, her brother. Captain Dobbin himself had asked leave to present 
her with a gold chain and watch, which she sported on this occasion ; and 
her mother gave her her diamond brooch ; almost the only trinket which 
was left to the old lady. As the service went on, Mrs. Sedley sat and 
whimpered a great deal in a pew, consoled by the Irish maid servant and 
Mrs. Clapp from the lodgings. Cld Osborne would not be present. Jos 
acted for his father, giving away the bride, whilst Captain Dobbin stepped 
up as groom's-man to his friend George. 

There was nobody in the church besides the officiating persons and the 
small marriage party and their attendants. The two valets sat aloof 
superciliously. The rain came rattling down on the windows. In the 
intervals of the service you heard it, and the sobbing of old Mrs. Osborne 
in the pew. The parson's tones echoed sadly through the empty walls. 
Osborne's " I will " was sounded in very deep base. Emmy's response 
came fluttering up to her lips from her heart, but was scarcely heard by 
anybody except Captain Dobbin. 

When the service was completed, Jos Sedley came forward and kissed 
his sister, the bride, for the first time for many months — George's look of 
gloom had gone, and he seemed quite proud and radiant. "It 's your 
turn, William," says he, putting his hand fondly upon Dobbin's shoulder; 
and Dobbin went up and touched Amelia on the cheek. 

Then they went into the vestry and. signed the register. " God bles3 
you, Old Dobbin," George said, grasping him by the hand, with something 
very like moisture glistening in his eyes. William replied only by nodding 
his head. His heart was too full to say much. 

" Write directly, and come down as soon as you can, you know," 
Osborne said. After Mrs. Sedley had taken an hysterical adieu of her 
daughter, the pair went off to the carriage. " Get out of the way, you 
Httle devils," George cried to a small crowd of damp urchins, that were 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 189 

hanging about the chapel-door. The rain drove into the bride and bride- 
groom's faces as they passed to the chariot. The postillions' favours 
draggled on their dripping jackets. The few children made a dismal 
cheer, as the carriage, splashing mud, drove away. 

William Dobbin stood in the church-porch, looking at it, a queer figure. 
The small erew of spectators jeered him. He was not thinking about 
them or their laughter. 

-" Come home and have some tiffin, Dobbin," a voice cried behind him ; 
as a pudgy hand was laid on his shoulder, and the honest fellow's review 
was interrupted. But the Captain had no heart to go a feasting with 
Jos Sedley. He put the weeping old lady and her attendants into 
the carnage along with Jos, and left them without any farther words 
passing. This carriage, too, drove away, and the urchins gave another 
sarcastical cheer. 

"Here, you little beggars," Dobbin said,, giving some sixpences amongst 
them, and then went off by himself through the rain. It was all over.. 
They were married, arid happy, he prayed God. Never since he was a 
boy had he felt so miserable and so lonely. He longed with a heart-sick 
yearning for the first few days to be over, that he might see her again. 



Some ten days after the above eeremony, three young men of our 
acquaintance were enjoying that beautiful prospect of bow windows on 
the one side and blue sea on the other, which Brighton affords to the 
traveller. Sometimes it is towards the ocean — smiling with countless 
dimples, speekled .with white sails, with ahundred bathing-machines kiss- 
ing the skirt of his blue garment — that the Londoner looks enraptured : 
sometimes, on the contrary, a lover of human nature rather than of pros- 
pects of any kind, it is towards the bow windows that he turns, and 
that swarm of human life which they exhibit. From one issue the notes 
of a piano, which a young lady in ringlets practises six hours daily, to the 
debght of the fellow-lodgers: at another, lovely Polly, the" nursemaid, 
may.be seen dandling Master Omnium in her arms: whilst Jacob, his' 
papa, is beheld eating prawns, and devouring the Times for breakfast, at 
the window below. Yonder are the Misses Leery, who are looking out for 
the young officers of the heavies, who are pretty sure to be pacing the 
cliff; or again it is a City man, with a nautical turn, and a teleseope, the 
size of a six-pounder, who has his instrument pointed seawards, so as to 
command every pleasure-boat, herring-boat, or bathing-machine that 
comes to, or quits, the shore, &e., &c. But have we any leisure for a 
description of Brighton ? — for Brighton, a clean Naples with genteel lazza- 
roni — for Brighton, that always looks brisk, gay, and gaudy, like a harle- 
quin's jaeket — for Brighton, which used to be seven hours' distant from 
London at the time of our story ; which is now only a hundred minutes 
off ; and which may approach who knows how much nearer, unless Join- 
ville comes and untimely bombards it ? 

"What a monstrous fine girl that is in the lodgings over the mil- 
liners," one of these three promenaders remarked to the other; "Cad, 
Crawley, did you see what a wink she gave me as I passed ? " „ 



190 VANITY FATE. 



" ])on't break her heart, Jos, you rascal," said another. "Don't trifle 
with her affections, you Don Juan ! " 

" Get away," said Jos Sedley, quite pleased, and leering up at the maid- 
servant in question with a most killing ogle. Jos was even more splendid 
at Brighton than he had been at his sister's marriage. He had brilliant 
under-waistcoats, any one of which would have set up a moderate buck. 
He sported a military frock-coat, ornamented with frogs, knobs, black 
buttons, and meandering embroidery. He had affected a military appear- 
ance and habits of late ; and he walked with his two friends, who were of 
that profession, clinking his boot-spurs, swaggering prodigiously, and 
shooting death-glances at all the servant girls who were worthy to be slain. 

" What shall we do, boys, till the ladies return? " the buck asked. The 
ladies were out to Bottingdean in his carnage, on a chive. " Let 's have a 
game at billiards," one of bis friends said — the tall one, with lacquered 
mustachios. 

" No, dammy ; no, Captain," Jos replied, rather alarmed. " No bil- 
liards to-day, Crawley, my boy ; yesterday was enough." 

" You play very well," said Crawley, laughing. "Don't he, Osborne ? 
How well he made that five stroke, eh ? " 

" Famous," Osborne said. " Jos is a devil of a fellow at billiards, and 
at everything else, too. I wish there were any tiger-hunting about here ; 
we might go and kill a few before dinner. (There goes a fine girl ! what 
an ancle, eh Jos ?) Tell us that story about the tiger-hunt, and the way 
you did for him in the jungle — it 's a wonderful story that, Crawley." 
Here George Osborne gave a yawn. " It 's rather slow work," said he, 
" down here ; what shall we do ?" 

" Shall we go and look at some horses that Snaffler 5 s just brought from 
Lewes fair ? " Crawley said. 

" Suppose we go and have some jellies at Dutton's," said the rogue Jos, 
willing to kill two birds with one stone. " Devilish fine gal at Dutton's." 

" Suppose we go and see the Lightning come in, it 's just about time ? " 
George said. This advice prevailing over the stables and the jelly, they 
turned towards the coach-office to witness the Lightning's arrival. 

As they passed, they met the carnage — Jos Sedley's open carriage, 
with its magnificent armorial bearings — that splendid conveyance in which 
he used to drive about at Cheltenham, majestic and solitary, with his arms 
folded, and his hat cocked ; or, more happy, with ladies by his side. 

Two were in the carriage now : one a little person, with light hair, 
and dressed in the height of the fashion ; the other in a brown silk pelisse, 
and a straw bonnet with pink ribbons, with a rosy, round, happy face, 
that did you good to behold. She checked the carriage as it neared the 
three - gentlemen, after which exercise of authority she looked rather 
nervous, and then began to blush most • absurdly. "We have had a de- 
lightful drive, George," she said, " and — and we 're so glad to come back ; 
and Joseph, don't let hhn be late." 

" Don't be leading our husbands into mischief, Mr. Sedley, you wicked, 
wicked man you," Bebecca said, shaking at Jos a pretty little finger 
covered with the neatest French kid glove. " No billiards, no smoking, 
no naughtiness! " 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 191 

" My dear Mrs. Crawley — Ah now ! upon my honour ! " was all Jos 
could ejaculate by way of reply ; but he managed to fall into a tolerable 
attitude, with his head lying on his shoulder, grinning upwards at his 
victim, with one hand at his back, which he supported on his cane, and 
the other hand (the one with the diamond ring) fumbling in his shirt-frhT 
and among his under-waistcoats. As the carriage drove off he kissed the 
diamond hand to the fair ladies within. He wished all Cheltenham, all 
Chowringhee, all Calcutta, could see him in that position, waving his hand 
to such a beauty, and in company with such a famous buck as Bawdon 
Crawley of the Guards. 

Our young bride and bridegroom had chosen Brighton as the place 
where they would pass the first few days after their marriage. And having 
engaged apartments at the Ship Inn, enjoyed themselves there in great 
comfort and quietude, untd Jos presently joined them. Nor was he the 
only companion they found here. As they were coming into the Hotel 
from a sea-side walk one afternoon, on whom should they light but 
Eebecca and her husband. The recognition was immediate. Eebecca 
flew into the arms of her dearest friend. Crawley and Osborne shook 
hands together cordially enough : and Becky, in the course of a very few 
hours, found means to make the latter forget that little unpleasant passage 
of words which had happened between them. " Do you remember the 
last time we met at Miss Crawley's, when I was so rude to you, dear 
Captain Osborne? I thought you seemed careless about dear Amelia. 
It was that made me angry : and so pert : and so unkind : and so un- 
grateful. Do forgive me !" Eebecca said, and she held out her hand with 
so frank and winning a grace, that Osborne could not but take it. By 
humbly and frankly acknowledging yourself to be in the wrong, there is 
no knowing, my son, what good you may do. I knew once a gentleman, 
and very worthy practitioner in Vanity Fan, who used to do little wrongs 
to his neighbours on purpose, and in order to apologise for them in an 
open and manly way afterwards — and what ensued ? My friend Crocky 
Doyle was liked everywhere, and deemed to be rather impetuous — but the 
honestest fellow. Becky's humility passed for sincerity with George 
Osborne. 

These two young couples had plenty of tales to relate to each other. 
The marriages of either were discussed ; and then prospects in life can- 
vassed with the greatest frankness and interest on both sides. George's 
marriage was to be made known to his father by his friend Captain 
Dobbin; and young Osborne trembled rather -for the result of that com- 
munication. Miss Crawley, on whom all Bawdon's hopes depended, 
still held out. Unable to make an entry" into her house in Park Lane, 
her affectionate nephew and niece had followed her to Brighton, where 
they had emissaries continually planted at her door. 

" I wish you could see some of Bawdon's friends who are always about 
our door," Eebecca said, laughing. "Did you ever see a dun, my dear ; 
or a bauiff and his man ? Two of the abominable wretches watched all 
last week at the greengrocer's opposite, and we could not get away until 
Sunday. If aunty does not relent, what shall we do?" 

Eawdon, with roars of laughter, related a dozen amusing anecdotes 



192 VAK'ITY FAIR. 



of his duns, and Rebecca's adroit treatment of them. He vowed with 
a great oath, that there was no woman in Europe who could talk a cre- 
ditor over as she could. Almost immediately after their marriage, her 
practice had begun, and her husband found the immense value of such a 
wife.. They had credit in plenty, but they had bills also in abundance, 
and laboured under a scarcity of ready money. Did these debt-difficulties 
affect Eawdon' s good spirits? No. Everybody in Vanity Eair must 
have remarked how well those live who are comfortably and thoroughly in 
debt : how they deny themselves nothing ; how jolly and easy they are in 
their minds. Eawdon and his wife had the very best apartments at the 
inn at Brighton ; the landlord, as he brought in the first dish, bowed before 
them as to his greatest customers : and Eawdon abused the dinners and 
wine with an audacity which no grandee in the land could surpass. Long 
custom, a manly appearance, faultless boots and clothes, and a happy 
fierceness of manner, will often help a man as much as a great balance at 
the banker's. 

The two wedding parties met constantly in each other's apartments. 
After two or three nights the gentlemen of an evening had a little picquet, 
as their wives sate and chatted apart. This pastime, and the arrival of 
Jos Sedley, who made his appearance in his grand open carriage, and who 
played a few games at billiards with Captain Crawley, replenished. Eaw- 
don 5 s purse somewhat, and gave him the benefit of that ready money for 
which the greatest spirits are sometimes at a stand-still. 

So the three gentlemen walked down to see the Lightning coach come 
in. Punctual to the minute, the coach crowded inside and out, the guard 
blowing his accustomed tune on the horn — the Lightning came tearing 
down the street, and pulled up at the coach-office. 

" Hullo ! there 's old Dobbin," George cried, quite delighted to see 
his old friend perched on the roof ; and whose promised visit to Brighton 
had been delayed until now. " How are you, old fellow ? Glad you're 
come down. Emmy '11 be delighted to see you," Osborne said, shaking 
his comrade warmly by the hand as soon as his descent from the vehicle 
was effected — and then he added, in a lower and agitated voice, " What 's 
the news. Have you been in Eussell Square ? What does the governor 
say ? Tell me everything." 

Dobbin looked very pale and grave. " I 've seen your father," said he. 
" How 's Amelia — Mrs. George ? I'll tell you all the news presently : but 
1 've brought the great news of all : and that is — " 

" Out with it, old fellow, George said. 

" We 're ordered to Belgium. All the army goes — Guards and all. 
Heavy top's got the gout, and is mad at not being able to move. O'Dowd 
goes in command, and we embark from Chatham next week." 

This news of war could not but come with a shock upon our lovers, and 
caused all these gentlemen to look very serious. 



CHAPTER XXIII. 




~-~ s. 



CAPTAIN DOBBIN PROCEEDS OX HIS CANVASS. 

HAT is the secret mesmerism which 
friendship possesses, andunder the 
operation of which a person ordi- 
narily sluggish, or cold, or timid, 
becomes wise, active, and resolute, 
in another's behalf? As Alexis, 
after a few nasses from Dr. Elliot- 

A. 

son, despises pain, reads with the 
back of his head, sees miles off, 
looks into next week, and per- 
forms other wonders, of which, in 
his own private normal condition, 
he is cprite incapable ; so you see, 
in the affairs of the world and 
under the magnetism of friend- 
ship, the modest man become 
bold, the shy confident, the lazy 
active, or the impetuous prudent 
and peaceful. What is it, on the 
other hand, that makes the lawyer 
eschew his own cause, and call in his learned brother as an adviser? And what 
causes the doctor, when ailing, to send for his rival, and not sit down and 
examine his own tongue in the chimney glass, or write his own prescrip- 
tion at his study table ? I throw out these queries for intelligent readers 
to answer, who know, at once, how credulous we are, and how sceptical, 
how soft and how obstinate, how firm for others and how diffident about 
ourselves : meanwhile it is certain that our friend "William Dobbin, who 
was personally of so complying a disposition that if his parents had pressed 
him much, it is probable he would have stepped down into the kitchen 
and married the cook, and who, to further his own interests, would have 
found the most insuperable difficulty in walking across the street, found 
himself as busy and eager in the conduct of George Osborne's affairs, as 
the most selfish tactician could be in the pursuit of his own. 

"Whilst our friend George and his young wife were enjoying the first 
blushing davs of the honevmoon at Brighton, honest William was left as 
George's plenipotentiary in London, to transact all the business part of the 
marriage. His duty it was to call upon old Sedley and his wife, and to keep 
the former in good' humour : to draw Jos and his brother-in-law nearer 
together, so that Jos's position and dignity, as collector of Bogglywollah, 
might compensate for his father's loss of station, and tend to reconcile 

o 



194 VANITY FAIE. 



old Osborne to the alliance : and finally, to communicate it to the latter 
in such a 'way as should least irritate the old gentleman. 

!N"ow, before he faced the head of the Osborne house with the news 
which it was his duty to tell, Dobbin bethought him that it would be 
politic to make friends of the rest of the family, and, if possible, have the 
ladies on his side. They can't be angry in then hearts, thought he. No 
woman ever was really angry at a romantic marriage. A little crying out, 
and they must come round to their brother ; when the three of us will lay 
siege to old Mr. Osborne. So this Machiavellian captain of infantry cast 
about him for some happy means or stratagem by which he could gently 
and gradually bring the Miss Osbornes to a knowledge of their brother's 
secret. 

By a little inquiry regarding his mother's engagements, he was pretty 
soon able to find out by whom of her ladyship's friends parties were given 
at that season ; where he would be likely to meet Osborne's sisters ; and, 
though he had that abhorrence of routs and evening parties, which many 
sensible men, alas, entertain, he soon found one where the Miss Osbornes 
were to be present. Making his appearance at the ball, where he danced 
a couple of sets with both of them, and was prodigiously polite, he 
actually had the courage to ask Miss Osborne for a few minutes' conversa- 
tion at an early hour the next day, when he had, he said, to communicate 
to her news of the veiy greatest interest. 

What was it that made her start back, and gaze upon him for a moment, 
and then on the ground at her feet, and make as if she woidd faint on his 
arm, had he not by opportunely treading on her toes, brought the young 
lady back to self-control? Why was she so violently agitated at Dob- 
bin's request ? This can never be known. But when he came the next 
day, Maria was not in the drawing-room with her sister, and Miss Wirt 
went off for the purpose of fetching the latter, and the Captain and Miss 
Osborne were left together. They were both so silent that the tick-tock 
of the Sacrifice of Iphigenia clock on the mantel-piece became quite rudely 
audible. 

"What a nice party it was last night," Miss Osborne at length began, 
encouragingly ; " and — and how you' re improved in your dancing, Cap- 
tain Dobbin. Surely somebody has taught you," she added, with amiable 
archness. 

"You should see me dance a reel with Mrs. Major O'Dowd of ours ; 
and a jig— did you ever see a jig ? But I think anybody could dance 
with you, Miss Osborne, who dance so well." 

" Is the Major's lady young and beautiful ? Captain," the fair ques- 
tioner continued. " Ah, what a terrible tiling it must be to be a soldier's 
wife ! I wonder they have any spirits to dance, and in these dreadful 
times of war too ! O Captain Dobbin, I tremble sometimes when I think 
of our dearest George, and the dangers of the poor soldier. Are there 
many married officers of the — th, Captain Dobbin?" 

"Upon my word, she's playing her hand rather too openly," Miss 
Wirt thought; but this observation is merely parenthetic, and was not 
heard through the crevice of the door at -which the governess uttered it. 

" One of our young men is just married," Dobbin said, now coming to 






A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 195 

the point. " It was a very old attachment, and the young couple are as 
poor as church mice." 

" 0, how delightful ! 0, how romantic ! " Miss Osborne cried, as the 
Captain said " old attachment" and "poor." Her sympathy encouraged 
him. 

"The finest young fellow in the regiment," he continued. "Not a 
braver or handsomer officer in the army ; and such a charming wife ! How 
you would like her; how you zcill like her when you know her, Miss ; 
Osborne." The young lady thought the actual moment had arrived, and 
that Dobbin's nervousness which now came on and was visible in many 
twitchings of his face, in his manner of beating the ground with his great 
feet, in the rapid buttoning and unbuttoning of his frock-coat, &c. — Miss 
Osborne, I say, thought that when he had given himself a little air, he 
would unbosom himself entirely, and prepared eagerly to listen. And the 
clock, in the altar on which Iphigenia was situated, beginning, after a pre- 
paratory convulsion, to toll twelve, the mere tolling seemed as if it 
would last until one — so prolonged was the knell to the anxious spinster. 

" But it 's not about marriage that I came to speak — that is that mar- 
riage — that is — no, I mean — my dear Miss Osborne, it 's about our dear 
friend George," Dobbin said. 

"About George?" she said in a tone so discomfited- that Maria and 
Miss Wirt laughed at the other side of the door, and even that abandoned 
wretch of a Dobbin felt inclined to smile himself; for he was not altogether 
unconscious of the state of affairs; George having often bantered him grace- 
fully and said " Hang it, Will, why don't you take old Polly ? She '11 have 
you if you ask her. I '11 bet yoii five to two she will." 

" Yes, about George, then," he continued. " There has been a differ- 
ence between him and Mr. Osborne. And I regard him so much — for you 
know we have been like brothers — that I hope and pray the quarrel may 
be settled. We must go abroad, Miss Osborne. We may be ordered off 
at a day's warning. Who knows what may happen in the campaign? 
Don't be agitated, dear Miss Osborne ; and those two at least should part 
friends." 

"There has been no quarrel, Captain Dobbin, except a little usua 
scene with papa," the lady said. "We are expecting George back daily. 
What papa wanted was only for his good. He has but to come back, and 
I 'm sure all will be w r ell ; and dear Bhoda, who went away from here in 
sad sad anger, I know will forgive him. Woman forgives but too readily, 
Captain." 

" Such an angel as you I am sure would," Mr. Dobbin said, with atro- 
cious astuteness. " And no man can pardon himself for giving a woman 
pain. What would you feel, if a man were faithless to you ? " 

" I should perish — I should throw myself out of window — I should 
take poison — I should pine and die. I know I should," Miss cried, who 
had nevertheless gone through one or two affairs of the heart without any 
idea of suicide. 

" And there are others," Dobbin continued, " as true and as kind- 
hearted as yourself. I'm not speaking about the West India heiress, 
Miss Osborne, but about a poor girl whom George once loved, and who 

o 2 



196 VANITY FAIR. 



was bred from her childhood to think of nobody but him. I 've seen her 
in her poverty uncomplaining, broken-hearted, without a fault. It is of 
Miss Sedley I speak. Dear Miss Osborne, can your generous heart quar- 
rel with your brother for being faithful to her? Could his own conscience 
ever forgive him if he deserted her ? Be her friend — she always loved 
you — and— and I am come here charged by George to tell you that he 
holds his engagement to her as the most sacred duty he has ; and to 
entreat you, at least, to be on his side." 

"When any strong emotion took possession of Mr. Dobbin, and after the 
first word or two of hesitation, he could speak with perfect fluency, and it 
was evident that his eloquence on this occasion made some impression 
upon the lady whom he addressed. 

"Well," said she, "this is — most surprising — most painful — most 
extraordinary — what will Papa say ? — that George should fling away such 
a superb establishment as was offered to him, — but at any rate he has 
found a very brave champion in you, Captain Dobbin. It is of no use, 
however," she continued, after a pause, " I feel for poor Miss Sedley, most 
certainly — most sincerely you know. We never thought the match a 
good one, though we were always very kind to her here — very. But 
Papa will never consent, I am sure. And a well brought up young woman 
you know, — with a well regulated mind must — George must give her up, 
dear Captain Dobbin, indeed he must." 

" Ought a man to give up the woman he loved, just when misfortune 
befel her ? " Dobbin said, holding out his haud. " Dear Miss Osborne ! 
is this the counsel I hear from you ? My dear young lady ! you must 
befriend her. He can't give her up. He must not give her up. Would 
a man, think you, give you up if you were poor ? " 

This adroit question touched the heart of Miss Jane Osborne not a 
little. " I don't know whether we poor girls ought to believe what you 
men say, Captain,", she said. "There is that in woman's tenderness 
which induces her to believe too easily. I 'm afraid you are cruel cruel 
deceivers," — and Dobbin certainly thought he felt a pressure of the hand 
which Miss Osborne had extended to him. 

He dropped it in some alarm. "Deceivers!" said he. "No, dear 
Miss Osborne, all men are not ; your brother is not ; George has loved 
Amelia Sedley ever since they were children ; no wealth would make him 
many any but her. Ought he to forsake her ? Would you counsel him 
to do so ? " 

What could Miss Jane say to such a question, and with her own peculiar 
views ? She could not answer it, so she parried it by saying, " Well, if 
you are not a deceiver, at least you are very romantic; " and Captain 
William let this observation pass without challenge. 

At length when, by the help of farther polite speeches, he deemed 
that Miss Osborne was sufficiently prepared to receive the whole news, he 
poured it into her ear. " George could not give up Amelia — George was 
married to her" — and then he related the circumstances of the marriage 
as we know them already, how the poor girl would have died had not her 
lover kept his faith : how Old Sedley had refused all consent to the match, 
and a licence had been got : and Jos Sedley had come from Cheltenham 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEKO. 197 

to give away the bride : how they had gone to Brighton in Jos's chariot- 
and-four to pass the honey -moon : and how George counted on his dear 
kind sisters to befriend him with their father, as women — so true and tender 
as they were — assuredly would do. And so, asking permission (readily 
granted) to see her again, and rightly conjecturing that the news he had 
brought would be told in the next five minutes to the other ladies, Captain 
Dobbin made his bow and took his leave. 

He was scarcely out of the. house, when Miss Maria and Miss Wirt 
rushed in to Miss Osborne, and the whole wonderful secret was imparted 
to them by that lady. To do them justice, neither of the sisters were 
very much displeased. There is something about a runaway match with 
which few ladies can be seriously angry, and Amelia rather rose in their 
estimation, from the spirit which she had displayed in consenting to the 
union. As they debated the story, and prattled about it, and wondered 
what Papa would do and say, came a loud knock, as of an avenging 
thunder-clap, at the door, which made these conspirators start. It must 
be Papa, they thought. But it was not he. It was only Mr. Frederick 
Bullock, who had come from the city according to appointment, to conduct 
the ladies to a flower-show. 

This gentleman, as may be imagined, was not kept long in ignorance of 
the secret. But his face, when he heard it, showed an amazement which 
was very different to that look of sentimental wonder which the counte- 
nances of the sisters wore. Mr. Bullock was a man of the world, and a 
junior partner of a wealthy firm. He knew what money was, and the 
value of it: and a delightful throb of expectation lighted up his little eyes, 
and caused him to smile on his Maria, as he thought that by this piece of 
folly of Mr. George's she might be worth thirty thousand pounds more 
than he had ever hoped to get with her. 

" Gad ! Jane," said he, surveying even the elder sister with some interest, 
" Eels will be sorry he cried off. Tou may be a fifty thousand pounder yet." 

The sisters had never thought of the money question up to that 
moment, but Fred Bullock bantered them with gracefid gaiety about it 
during their forenoon's excursion ; and they had risen not a little in their 
own esteem by the time when, the morning amusement over, they drove 
back to dinner. And do not let my respected reader exclaim against this 
selfishness as unnatural. It w r as but this present morning, as he rode on 
the omnibus from Eichmond ; while it changed horses, this present 
chronicler, being on the roof, marked three little children playing in a 
puddle below, very dirty and friendly and happy. To these three pre- 
sently came another little one. "Polly," says she, " your sister 's (jot a 
penny." At which the children got up from the puddle instantly, and 
ran off to pay their court to Peggy. And as the omnibus drove off I 
saw Peggy with the infantine procession at her tail, marching with great, 
dignity towards the stall of a neighbouring lollipop-woman. 



CHAPTER XXIV 




George 



IX WHICH MR. OSBORNE TAKES DOWN THE FAMILY BIBLE. 

O having prepared the sisters, Dobbin hast- 
ened away to the City to perform the rest 
and more difficult part of the task which 
he had undertaken. The idea of facing old 
Osborne rendered him not a little nervous, 
and more than once he thought of leaving the 
young ladies to communicate the secret, 
which, as he was aware, they could not long 
retain. But he had promised to report to 
George upon the manner in which the elder 
Osborne bore the intelligence ; so going into 
the City to the paternal counting-house in 
Thames Street, he despatched thence a note 
to Mr. Osborne begging for a half-hour's 
conversation relative to the affairs of his son 
Dobbin's messenger returned from Mr. Osborne's house of 
business, with the compliments of the latter, who would be very happy 
to see the Captain immediately, and away accordingly Dobbin went to 
confront him. 

The Captain, with a half-guilty secret to confess, and with the prospect 
of a painful and stormy interview before him, entered Mr. Osborne's offices 
with a most dismal countenance and abashed gait, and, passing through 
the outer room where Mr. Chopper presided, was greeted by that func- 
tionary from his desk with a waggish ah which farther discomfited him. 
Mr. Chopper winked and nodded and pointed his pen towards his patron's 
door, and said, " Ton '11 find the governor all right," with the most pro- 
voking good humour. 

Osborne rose too, and shook him heartily by the hand, and said, " How 
do, my dear boy ?" with a cordiality that made poor George's ambassador 
feel doubly guilty. His hand lay as if dead in the old gentleman's grasp. 
He felt that he, Dobbin, was more or less the cause of all that had 
happened. It was he had brought back George to Amelia ; it was he had 
applauded, encouraged, transacted almost the marriage which he was 
come to reveal to George's father : and the latter was receiving him with 
smiles of welcome ; patting him on the shoulder, and calling him 
"Dobbin, my dear boy." The envoy had indeed good reason to hang 
his head. 

Osborne fully believed that Dobbin had come to announce his son's 
surrender. Mr. Chopper and his principal were talking over the matter 
between George and his father, at the very moment when Dobbin's 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 199 

messenger arrived. Both agreed that George was sending in his submis- 
sion. Both had been expecting it for some days — and " Lord ! Chopper, 
what a marriage we '11 have," Mr. Osbome said to his clerk, snapping his 
big fingers, and jingling all the guineas and shillings in his great pockets 
as he eyed his subordinate with a look of triumph. 

"With similar operations conducted in both pockets, and a knowing jolly 
air, Osborne from his chair regarded Dobbin seated blank and silent 
opposite to him. " What a bumpkin he is for a Captain in the army," old 
Osborne thought. " I wonder George hasn't taught him better manners." 

At last Dobbin summoned courage to begin. " Sir," said he, " I 've 
brought you some very grave news. I have been at the Horse Guards 
this morning, and there 's no doubt that our regiment will be ordered 
abroad, and On its way to Belgium before the week is over. And you 
know, Sir, that we sha'nt be home again before a tussle which may be fatal 
to many of us." 

Osborne looked grave. "My s , the regiment will do its duty, Sir, 

I daresay," he said. 

"The French are very strong, Sir," Dobbin went on. "The Kussians 
and Austrians will be a long time before they can bring their troops down. 
We shall have the first of the fight, Sir ; and depend on it Boney will 
take care that it shall be a hard one." 

"What are you driving at, Dobbin," his interlocutor said, uneasy 
and with a scowl. " I suppose no Briton's afraid of any d French- 
man, hay ?" 

" I only mean, that before we go, and considering the great and certain 
risk that hangs over every one of us — if there are any differences between 
you and George — it woidd be as well, Sir, that — that you should shake 
hands : wouldn't it? Should anything happen to him, I think you woidd 
never forgive yoiu'self if you hadn't parted in charity." 

As he said this, poor William Dobbin blushed crimson, and felt and 
owned that he himself was a traitor. But for him, perhaps, this severance 
need never have taken place. Why had not George's marriage been 
delayed ? What call was there to press it on so eagerly ? He felt that 
George would have parted from Amelia at any rate without a mortal pang. 
Amelia, too, might have recovered the shock of losing him. It was his 
counsel had brought about this marriage, and all that was to ensue from 
it. And why was it ? Because he loved her so much that he coidd not 
bear to see her unhappy : or because his own sufferings of suspense were 
so unendurable that he was glad to crush them at once — as we hasten a 
funeral after a death, or, when a separation from those we love is immi- 
nent, cannot rest until the parting be over. 

"You are a good fellow, William," said Mr. Osbome in a softened voice; 
" and me and George shouldn't part in anger, that is true. Look here. 
I 've done for him as much as any father ever did. He 's had three times 
as much money from me, as I warrant your father ever gave you. But I 
don't brag about that. How I've toiled for him, and worked and employed 
my talents and energy, / won't say. Ask Chopper. Ask himself. Ask the 
City of London. Well, I propose to him such a marriage as any nobleman 
in the land might be proud of — the only thing in life I ever asked him — 



200 VANITY FATR. 



and he refuses me. Am 1 wrong ? Is the quarrel of my making ? What 
do I seek but his good, for which I've been toiling like a convict ever since 
he was born ? Nobody can say there 's anything selfish in me. Let him 
come back. I say, here 's my hand. I say, forget and forgive. As for 
marrying now, it 's out. of the question. Let him and Miss S. make it up, 
and make out the marriage afterwards, when he comes back a Colonel; for 

he shall be a Colonel, by G he shall, if money can do it. I'm glad 

you've brought him round. I know it 's you Dobbin. You 've took him 
out of many a scrape before. Let him come. 1 shan't be hard. Come 
along, and dine in Russell Square to-day : both of you. The old shop, 
the old hour. You '11 find a neck of venison, and no questions asked," 

This praise and confidence smote Dobbin's heart very keenly. Every 
moment the colloquy continued in this tone, he felt more and more gnilty. 
" Sir," said he, " I fear you deceive yourself. I am sure you do. George 
is much too high-minded a man ever to marry for money. A threat on 
your part that you would disinherit him in case of disobedience would 
only be followed by resistance on his." 

" Why, hang it, man, you don't call offering him eight or ten thousand 
a year, threatening him?" Mr. Osborne said, with still provoking good 
humour. " 'Gad, if Miss S. will have me, I 'm her man. I aint par- 
ticular about a shade or so of tawny." And the old gentleman gave his 
knowing grin, and coarse laugh. 

" You forget, Sir, previous engagements into which Captain Osborne 
had entered," the ambassador said, gravely. 

" What engagements ? What the devil do you mean ? You don't 
mean," Mr. Osborne continued, gathering wrath and astonishment as the 
thought now first came upon him — you don't mean that he 's such a 

d fool as to be still hankering after that swindling old bankrupt's 

daughter ? You 've not come here for to make me suppose that he wants 
to marry her ? Marry her, that is a good one. My son and heir marry 

a beggar's girl out of a gutter. D him, if he does, let him buy a 

broom and sweep a crossing. She was always dangling and ogling after 
him,' I recollect now; and I've no doubt she was put on by her old 
sharper of a father." 

" Mr. Sedley was your very good friend, Sir," Dobbin interposed, almost 
pleased at finding himself growing angry. " Time was you called him 
better names than rogue and swindler. The match was of your making. 
George had not right to play fast and loose ." 

" Fast and loose. ! " howled out old Osborne. " Past and loose ! Why, 
hang me, those are the very words my gentleman used himself when he 
gave himself airs, last Thursday was a fortnight, and talked about the 
British army to his father who made him. What, it 's you who have 
been a setting of him up — is it ? and my service to you, Captain. It ? s 
you who want to introduce beggars into my family. Thank you for 
nothing, Captain. Marry her indeed — he, he! why should he? I warrant 
you she'd go to him fast enough without." 

" Sir," said Dobbin, starting up in undisguised anger ; " no man shall 
abuse that lady in my hearing, and you least of all." 

"Oj you're a going to call me out, are you? Stop, let me ring the 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 201 

bell for pistols for two. Mr. George sent you here to insult his father, 
did he ?" Osborne said, pulling at the bell-cord. 

"Mr. Osborne," said Dobbin, with a faltering voice, "it's you who are 
insulting the best creature in the world. You had best spare her, Sir, for 
she's your son's wife." 

And with this, feeling that he could say no more, Dobbin went away, 
Osborne sinking back in his chair, and looking wildly after him. A clerk 
came in, obedient to the bell ; and the Captain was scarcely out of the 
court where Mr. Osborne's offices were, when Mr. Chopper the chief clerk 
came rushing hatless after him. 

"For God's sake, what is it ?" Mr. Chopper said, catching the Captain 
by the skirt. " The governor 's in a fit. What has Mr. George been 
doing ? " 

"He married Miss Sedley five days ago," Dobbin replied. "I was his 
groomsman, Mr. Chopper, and you must stand his friend." 

The old clerk shook his head. " If that's your news, Captain, it 's bad. 
The governor will never forgive him." 

Dobbin begged Chopper to report progress to him at the hotel where 
he was stopping, and walked off moodily westwards, greatly perturbed as 
to the past and the future. 

When the Kussell Square family came to dinner that evening, they found 
the father of the house seated in his usual place, but with that air of gloom 
on his face, which, whenever it appeared there, kept the whole circle silent. 
The ladies and Mr. Bullock who dined with them, felt that the news had 
been communicated to Mr. Osborne. His dark looks affected Mr. Bullock 
so far as to render liim still and quiet : but he was unusually bland and 
attentive to Miss Maria, by whom he sat, and to her sister presiding at the 
head of the table. 

Miss Wirt, by consequence, was alone on her side of the board, a gap 
being left between her and Miss Jane Osborne. Now this was George's 
place when he dined at home ; and his cover, as we said, was laid for him 
in expectation of that truant's return. Nothing occurred during dinner- 
time except smiling Mr. Frederic's flagging confidential whispers, and the 
clinking of plate and china, to interrupt the silence of the repast. The 
servants went about stealthily doing their duty. Mutes at funerals could 
not look more glum than the domestics of Mr. Osborne. The neck of 
venison of which he had invited Dobbin to partake, was carved by him in 
perfect silence ; but his own share went away almost untasted, though he 
drank much, and the butler assiduously filled his glass. 

At last, just at the end of the dinner, his eyes, which had been staring 
at everybody in turn, fixed themselves for a while upon the plate laid for 
George. He pointed to it presently with his left hand. His daughters 
looked at him and did not comprehend, or choose to comprehend, the 
signal ; nor did the servants at first understand it. 

" Take that plate away," at last he said, getting up with an oath — and 
with this pushing his chair back, he walked into his own room. 

Behind Mr. Osborne's dining-room was the usual apartment which went 
in his house by the name of the study ; and was sacred to the master of 
the house. Hither Mr. Osborne woidd retire of a Sunday forenoon when 



202 VANITY FAIK. 



not minded to go to church ; and here pass the morning in his crimson 
leather chair, reading the paper. A couple of glazed book-cases were here, 
containing standard works in stout gilt bindings. The " Annual Kegister," 
the " Gentleman's Magazine," "Blah's Sermons," and " Hume andSmol- 
let." From year's end to year's end he never took one of these volumes 
from the shelf; but there was no member of the family that would dare 
for his life to touch one of the books, except upon those rare Sunday 
evenings when there was no dinner party, and when the great scarlet Bible 
and Prayer-book were taken out from the corner where they stood beside 
his copy of the Peerage, and the servants being rung up to the dining par- 
lour, Osborne read the evening service to his family in a loud grating 
pompous voice. No member of the household, child or domestic, ever 
entered that room without a certain terror. Here he checked the house- 
keeper's accounts, and overhauled the butler's cellar-book. Hence he could 
command, across the clean gravel court-yard, the back entrance of the 
stables with which one of his bells communicated, and into this yard the 
coachman issued from his premises as into a dock, and Osborne swore at 
him from the study window. Pour times a year Miss Wirt entered this 
apartment to get her salary ; and his daughters to receive their quarterly 
allowance. George as a boy had been horsewhipped in this room many 
times; his mother sitting sick on the stair listening to the cuts of the 
whip. The boy was scarcely ever known to cry under the punishment ; 
the poor woman used to fondle and kiss him secretly, and give him money 
to soothe him when he came out. 

There was a picture of the family over the mantel-piece, removed thither 
from the front room after Mrs. Osborne's death — George was on a poney, 
the elder sister holding him up a bunch of flowers ; the younger led by 
her mother's hand ; all with red cheeks and large red mouths, simpering 
on each other in the approved family-portrait manner. The mother lay 
under ground now, long since forgotten — the sisters and brother had a 
hundred different interests of their own, and, familiar still, were utterly 
estranged from each other. Some few score of years afterwards, when all the 
parties represented are grown old, what bitter satire there is in those flaunt- 
ing childish family-portraits, with their farce of sentiment and smiling lies, 
and innocence so self-conscious and self-satisfied. Osborne's own stately 
portrait, with that of his great silver inkstand and arm-chair, had taken the 
place of honour in the dining-room, vacated by the family-piece. 

To this study old Osborne retired then, greatly to the relief of the small 
party whom he left. When the servants had withdrawn, they began to 
talk for a while volubly but very low ; then they went up stairs quietly, 
Mr. Bullock accompanying them stealthily on his creaking shoes. He 
had no heart to sit alone drinking wine, and so close to the terrible old 
gentleman in the study hard at hand. 

An hour at least after dark, the butler, not having received any sum- 
mons, ventured to tap at his door and take him in wax candles and tea. 
The master of the house sate in his chair, pretending to read the paper, 
and when the servant, placing the lights and refreshment on the table by 
him, retired, Mr. Osborne got up and locked the door after him. This 
time there was no mistaking the matter; all the household knew that some 



A NOYEL WITHOUT A HEKO. 203 

great catastrophe was going to happen which was likely direly to 
affect Master George. 

In the large shining mahogany escrutoire Mr. Osborne had a drawer 
especially devoted to his son's affairs and papers. Here he kept all the 
documents relating to him ever since he had been a boy : here were his 
prize copy-books and drawing-books, all bearing George's hand, and that 
of the master : here were his first letters in large round hand sending Ms 
love to papa and mama, and conveying his petitions for a cake. His dear 
godpapa Sedley was more than once mentioned in them. Curses quivered 
on old Osborne's livid lips, and horrid hatred and disappointment writhed 
in his heart, as looking through some of these papers he came on that name. 
They were all marked and docketed, and tied with red tape. It was — 
"From Georgy, requesting 5*., April 23, 18 — ; answered, April 25," — 
or " Georgy about a poney, October 13," — and so forth. In another 
packet were " Dr. S.'s accounts " — " G.'s tailor's bills and outfit, drafts 
on me by G. Osborne, jun." &c, — his letters from the West Indies — his 
agent's letters, and the newspapers containing his commission : here was 
a whip he had when a boy, and in a paper a locket containing his hair, 
which his mother used to wear. 

Turning one over after another, and musing over these memorials, the 
unhappy man passed many hours. His dearest vanities, ambitions, hopes, 
had all been here. Wliat pride he had in his boy ! He was the hand- 
somest child ever seen. Everybody said he was like a nobleman's son. 
A royal princess had remarked him, and kissed him, and asked his name 
in Kew Gardens. What city-man could show such another ? Could a 
prince have been better cared for ? Anything that money could buy had 
been his son's. He used to go down on speech-days with four horses 
and new liveries, and scatter new shillings among the boys at the school 
where George was : when he went with George to the depot of his regi- 
ment, before the boy embarked for Canada, he gave the officers such a 
dinner as the Duke of York might have sat down to. Had he ever 
refused a bill when George drew one ? There they were — paid without a 
word. Many a general in the army couldn't ride the horses he had ! He 
had the child before his eyes, on a hundred different days when he remem- 
bered George — after dinner, when he used to come in as bold as a lord 
and drink off his glass by his father's side, at the head of the table — on 
the poney at Brighton, when he cleared the hedge and kept up with the 
huntsman — on the day when he was presented to the Prince Kegent a 
the levee, when all Saint James's couldn't produce a finer young fellow. 
And this, tliis was the end of all ! — to marry a bankrupt and fly in the 
face of duty and fortune ! What humiliation and fury : what pangs 
of sickening rage, balked ambition and love ; what wounds of outraged 
vanity, tenderness even, had this old worldling now to suffer under ! 

Having examined these papers, and pondered over this one and the 
other, in that bitterest of all helpless woe, with which miserable men think 
of happy past times — George's father took the whole of the documents out 
of the drawer in which he had kept them so long, and locked them into a 
writing-box, which he tied and sealed with his seal. Then he opened the 
book-case, and took down the great red Bible we have spoken of — a 



j- 



204 VANITY FAIR. 



pompous book, seldom looked at, and shining all over with gold. There 
was a frontispiece to the volume, representing Abraham sacrificing Isaac. 
Here, according to custom, Osborne had recorded on the fly-leaf, and 
in his large clerk-like hand, the dates of his marriage and his wife's 
death, and the births and Christian names of his children. Jane came 
first, then George Sedley Osborne, then Maria Frances, and the days of 
the christening of each. Taking a pen, he carefully obliterated George's 
names from the page ; and when the leaf was quite dry, restored the 
volume to the place from which he had moved it. Then he took a 
document out of another drawer, where his own private papers were kept ; 
and having read it, crumpled it up and lighted it at one of the candles, 
and saw it burn entirely away in the grate. It was his will; which 
beina - burned, he sate down and wrote off a letter, and rans for Iris ser- 
vant, whom he charged to deliver it in the morning. It was morning 
already : as he went up to bed, the whole house was alight with the 
sunshine : and the birds were singing among the fresh green leaves in 
llussell Square. 

Anxious to keep all Mr. Osborne's family and dependants in good humour, 
and to make as many friends as possible for George in his hour of adversity, 
William Dobbin, who knew the effect which good dinners and good wines 
have upon the soul of man, wrote off immediately on his return to his inn, 
the most hospitable of invitations to Thomas Chopper, Esquire, begging 
that gentleman to dine with him at the Slaughter's next day. The note 
reached Mr. Chopper before he left the City, and the instant reply was, 
that " Mr. Chopper presents his respectful compliments, and will have the 
honour and pleasure of waiting on Captain D." The invitation and the 
rough draft of the answer were shown to Mrs. Chopper and her daughters 
on his return to Somers' Town that evening, and they talked about mili- 
tary gents and West End men with great exultation as the family sate 
and partook of tea. When the girls had gone to rest, Mr. and Mrs. C. 
discoursed upon the strange events which were occurring in the governor's 
family. Never had the clerk seen his principal so moved. When he 
went in to Mr. Osborne, after Captain Dobbin's departure, Mr. Chopper 
found his chief black in the face, and all but in a fit : some dreadful quar- 
rel, he was certain, had occurred between Mr. 0. and the young Captain. 
Chopper had been instructed to make out an account of all sums paid 
to Captain Osborne within the last three years. " And a precious lot of 
money he has had too," the chief clerk said, and respected his old and 
young master the more, for the liberal way in Avhich the guineas had 
been flung about. The dispute was something about Miss Sedley. Mrs. 
Chopper vowed and declared, she pitied that poor young lady to lose such 
a handsome young fellow as the Capting. As the daughter of an unlucky 
speculator, who had paid a very shabby dividend, Mr. Chopper had no 
great regard for Miss Sedley. He respected the house of Osborne before 
all others in the city of London : and his hope and wish was, that Captain 
George should marry a nobleman's daughter. The clerk slept a great 
deal sounder than his principal that night ; and, cuddling his children 
after breakfast, of which he partook with a very hearty appetite (though 
his modest cup of life was only sweetened with brown sugar), he set off in 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 



205 



his best Sunday suit and frilled shirt for business, promising his ad- 
miring wife not to punish Captain D.'s port too severely that evening. 




Mr. Osborne's countenance, when he arrived in the City at his usual 
time, struck those dependants who were accustomed, for good reasons, to 
watch its expression, as peculiarly ghastly and worn. At twelve o'clock 
Mr. Higgs (of the firm of Higgs & Blatherwick, solicitors, Bedford Bow,) 
called by appointment, and was ushered into the governor's private room, 
and closeted there for more than an hour. At about one Mr. Chopper 
received a note brought by Captain Dobbin's man, and containing an 
inclosure for Mr. Osborne, which the clerk went in and delivered. A 
short time afterwards Mr. Chopper and Mr. Birch, the next clerk, were 
summoned, and requested to witness a paper. " I've been making a new 
will," Mr. Osborne said, to which these gentlemen appended their names 
accordingly. No conversation passed. Mr. Higgs looked exceedingly 
grave as he came into the outer rooms, and very hard in Mr. Chopper's 
face ; but there were not any explanations. It was remarked that Mr. 
Osborne was particularly quiet and gentle all day, to the surprise of 
those who had augured ill from his darkling demeanour. He called no 
man names that day, and was not heard to swear once. He left business 
early ; and before going away, summoned his chief clerk once more, and 
having given him general instructions, asked him, after some seeming- 
hesitation and reluctance to speak, if he knew whether Captain Dobbin 
was in town ? 

Chopper said he believed he was. Indeed both of them knew the fact 
perfectly. 



206 VANITY FAIR. 



Osborne took a letter directed to that officer, and, giving it to the clerk, 
requested the latter to deliver it into Dobbin's own hands immediately. 

" And now Chopper," says he, taking his hat, and with a strange look, 
"my mind will be easy." Exactly as the clock struck two, (there was no 
doubt an appointment between the pair,) Mr. Frederick Bullock called, 
and he and Mr. Osborne walked away together. 

The Colonel of the — th regiment, in which Messieurs Dobbin and Os- 
borne had companies, was an old general who had made his first campaign 
under "Wolf at Quebec, and was long since quite too old and feeble for 
command ; but he took some interest in the regiment of which he was the 
nominal head, and made certain of his young officers welcome at his table, 
a kind of hospitality which I believe is not altogether common amongst 
his brethren of the present day. Captain Dobbin was an especial favourite 
of this old General. Dobbin was versed in the literature of his profession, 
and could talk about the great Frederic and the Empress Queen and their 
wars almost as well as the General himself, who was indifferent to the 
triumphs of the present day, and whose heart was with the tacticians of fifty 
years back. This officer sent a summons to Dobbin to come and breakfast 
with him, on the morning when Mr. Osborne altered his will and Mi". 
Chopper put on his best shirt frill, and then informed his young favourite, a 
couple of days in advance, of that which they were all expecting — a march- 
ing order to go to Belgium. The order for the regiment to hold itself in 
readiness would leave the Horse Guards in a day or two ; and as trans- 
ports were in plenty, they would get their route before the week was over. 
Recruits had come in during the stay of the regiment at Chatham ; and the 
old General hoped that the regiment which had helped to beat Montcalm 
in Canada, and to rout Mr. Washington on Long Island, would prove 
itself worthy of its historical reputation on the oft-trodden battle-grounds 
of the Low Countries. " And so my good friend, if you have any affaire 
la" said the old General, taking a pinch of snuff with his trembling white 
old hand, and then pointing to the spot of his robe de chambre under 
which his heart was still feebly beating, " if you have any Phillis to con- 
sole, or to bid farewell to papa and mama, or any will to make, I recom- 
mend you to set about your business without delay." With which the 
General gave his young friend a finger to shake, and a good-natured nod 
of his powdered and pig-tailed head ; and the door being closed upon Dob- 
bin, sate down to pen a poulet (he was exceedingly vain of his Erench) to 
Mademoiselle Amenaide of His Majesty's Theatre. 

This news made Dobbin grave, and he thought of our friends at Brighton, 
and then he was ashamed of himself that Amelia was always the first thing 
in his thoughts, (always before anybody — before father and mother, sisters 
and duty — always at waking and sleeping indeed, and all day long) ; and 
returning to his hotel, he sent off a brief note to Mr. Osborne acquainting 
him with the information which he had received, and which might tend 
farther, he hoped, to bring about a reconciliation with George. 

This note, dispatched by the same messenger who had carried the in- 
vitation to Chopper on the previous day, alarmed the worthy clerk not a 
little. It was inclosed to him, and as he opened the letter he trembled 
lest the dinner should be piit off on which he was calcidating. His mind 




J//.J/,/,/ r /„ 



^^/''S'u/^p //,* „// 



Sat s 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 



207 



was inexpressibly relieved when he found that the envelope was only a 
reminder for himself. ("I shall expect you at half-past five," Captain Dob- 
bin wrote). He was very much interested about his employer's family; 
but, que voulez vous ? a grand dinner was of more concern to him than 
the affairs of any other mortal. 

Dobbin was quite justified in repeating the General's information to any 
officers of the regiment whom he should see in the course of his peregrina- 
nations ; accordingly he imparted it to Ensign Stubble, whom he met at 
the agent's, and who, such was Ins military ardour, went off instantly to 
purchase a new sword at the accoutrement-maker's. Here this young 
fellow, who though only seventeen years of age, and about sixty-five inches 
high, with a constitution naturally rickety and much impaired by prema- 
ture brandy and water, had an undoubted courage and a lion's heart, poised, 
tried, bent, and balanced a weapon such as he thought would do execu- 
tion amongst Frenchmen. Shouting " Ha, ha," and stamping his little feet 
with tremendous energy, he delivered the point twice or thrice at Captain 
, Dobbin, who parried the thrust laughingly with his bamboo walking-stick. 

Mr. Stubble, as may be supposed from his size and slenderness, was of 
the Light Bobs. Ensign Spooney, on the contrary, was a tall youth, and 
belonged to (Captain Dobbin's) the Grenadier Company, and he tried on 
a new bear-skin cap, under which he looked savage beyond his years. 
Then these two lads went off to the Slaughter's, and having ordered a 
famous dinner, sate down and wrote off letters to the kind anxious parents 
at home — letters full of love and heartiness, and pluck and bad spelling. 
Ah ! there were many anxious hearts beating through England at that 
time ; and mothers' prayers and tears flowing in many homesteads. 

Seeing young Stubble engaged in composition at one of the coffee-room 







n^a 



208 VANITY FAIR. 



tables at the Slaughter's, and the tears trickling clown his nose on to the 
paper, (for the youngster was thinking of his mama, and that he might 
never see her again,) Dobbin, who was going to write off a letter to 
George Osborne, relented, and locked up his desk. " Why should I ?" 
said he. "Let her have this night happy.. I'll go and see my parents 
early in the morning, and go down to Brighton myself to-morrow." 

So he went up and laid his big hand on young Stubble's shoulder, and 
backed up that young champion, and told him if he would leave off brandy 
and water he would be a good soldier, as he always was a gentlemanly 
good-hearted fellow. Young Stubble's eyes brightened up at this, for 
Dobbin was greatly respected in the regiment, as the best officer and the 
cleverest man in it. 

" Thank you, Dobbin," he said, rubbing his eyes with his knuckles, ''■ I 
was just — just telling her I would. And, Sir, she V so dam kind to 
me." The water pumps were at work again, and I am not "sure that the 
soft-hearted Captain's eyes did not also twinkle. 

The two ensigns, the captain and Mr. Chopper, dined together in the 
same box. Chopper brought the letter from Mr. Osborne in" which the 
latter briefly presented his compliments to Captain Dobbin, and requested 
him to forward the inclosed to Captain George Osborne. Chopper knew 
nothing further ; he described Mr. Osborne's appearance, it is true, and his 
interview with his lawyer, wondered "how the governor had- sworn at 
nobody, and, especially as the wine circled round, abounded in speculations 
and conjectures. But these grew more vague with every glass, and at length 
became perfectly unintelligible. At a late hour Captain Dobbin put his 
guest into a hackney coach, in a hiccupping state, and swearing that he 
would be the kick — the kick — captain's friend for ever and ever. 

When Captain Dobbin took leave of Miss Osborne we have said that he 
asked leave to come and pay her another visit, and the spinster expected 
him for some hours the next day, when, perhaps, had he come, and had he 
asked her that question winch she was prepared to answer, she would have 
declared herself as her brother's friend, and a reconciliation might have 
been effected between George and his angry father. But though she 
waited at home the captain never came. He had his own affairs to pur- 
sue ; his own parents to visit and console ; and at an early hour of the day 
to take his place on the Lightning coach, and go down to his friends at 
Brighton. In the course of the day Miss Osborne heard her father give 
orders that that meddling scoundrel, Captain Dobbin, should never be 
admitted within his doors again, and any hopes in which she may have 
indulged privately, were thus abruptly brought to an end. Mr. Frederic 
Bullock came, and was particularly affectionate to Maria, and attentive to 
the broken-spirited old gentleman. For though he said his mind would 
be easy, the means which he had taken to secure quiet did not seem to 
have succeeded as yet, and the events of the past two days had visibly 
shattered him. 



CHAPTER XXV. 




IN WHICH ALL THE PRINCIPAL PERSONAGES THINK FIT TO LEAVE 

BRIGHTON. 

ONDTJCTED to the ladies, at the 
Ship Inn, Dobbin assumed a jovial 
and rattling manner, which proved? 
that this young officer was be- 
coming a more consummate hypo- 
crite every day of his life. He- 
was trying to hide his own private 
feelings, first upon seeing Mrs. 
George Osborne in her new con- 
dition, and secondly to mask the 
apprehensions he entertained as to- 
the effect which the dismal news\ 
brought down by him would cer- 
tainly have upon her. 

"It is my opinion, George, "~ 
he said, "that the French Em- 
peror will be upon us, horse and foot, before three weeks are over, and 
will give the Duke such a dance as shall make the Peninsula appear mere 
child's play. But you need not say that to Sirs. Osborne, you know. 
There mayn't be any fighting on our side after all, and our business in 
Belgium may turn out to be a mere military occupation. Many persons 
think so ; and Brussels is full of fine people and ladies of fashion." So> 
it was agreed to represent the duty of the British army in Belgium in this 
harmless light. to Amelia. 

This plot being arranged, the hypocritical Dobbin saluted Mrs. George 
Osborne quite gaily, tried to pay her one or two compliments relative to 
her new position as a bride (which compliments, it must be confessed, 
were exceedingly clumsy and hung fire wofully), and then fell to talking 
about Brighton, and the sea-air, and the gaieties of the place, and the 
beauties of the road and the merits of the " Lightning " coach and horses,. 
— all in a manner quite incomprehensible to Amelia, and very amusing to* 
Kebecca, who was watching the Captain, as indeed she watched every one 
near whom she came. 

Little Amelia, it must be owned, had rather a mean opinion of her 
husband's friend, Captain Dobbin. He lisped — he was very plain and 
homely-looking : and exceedingly awkward and ungainly. She liked him 
for his attachment to her husband, (to be sure there was very little merit 
in that), and she thought George was most generous and kind in extend- 
ing his friendship to his brother officer. George had mimicked Dobbin's 
lisp and queer manners many times to her, though to do him justice, he 

p 



210 VAXITY FAIR. 



always spoke most highly of his friend's good qualities. In her little day 
of triumph, and not knowing him intimately as yet, she made light of 
honest William — and he knew her opinions of him quite well, and 
acquiesced in them very humbly. A time came when she knew him 
better, and changed her notions regarding him : but that was distant 
as yet. 

As for Rebecca, Captain Dobbin had not been two hours in the ladies' 
company, before she understood his secret perfectly. She did not like 
him, and. feared him privately; nor was he very much prepossessed in her 
favour. He was so honest, that her arts and cajoleries did not affect him, 
and he shrank from her with instinctive repulsion. And, as she was by no 
means so far superior to her sex as to be above jealousy, she disliked him 
the more for his adoration of Amelia. ^Nevertheless, she was very 
respectful and cordial in her manner towards him. A friend to the 
Osbornes ! a friend to her dearest benefactors ! She vowed she should 
always love him sincerely : she remembered him quite well on the Vaux- 
hall night, as she told Amelia archly, and she made a little fun of him 
when the two ladies went to dress for dinner. Rawdon Crawley paid 
scarcely any attention to Dobbin, looking upon him as a good-natured 
nincompoop, and under-bred city man. Jos patronised him with much 
dignity. 

When George and Dobbin were alone in the latter's room, to which 
George had followed him, Dobbin took from his desk the letter which 
he had been charged bv Mr. Osborne to deliver to his son. " It 's not in 
my father's hand- writing," said George, looking rather alarmed ; nor 
was it: the letter was from Mr. Osborne's lawyer, and to the following 
effect : — 

"Bedfokd Row, May 7, 1815. 
" Silt, 

" I am commissioned by Mr. Osborne to inform you, that he abides by 
the determination which he before expressed to you, and that in conse- 
quence of the marriage which you have been pleased to contract, he 
ceases to consider you henceforth as a member of his family. This deter- 
mination is final and irrevocable. 

" Although the monies expended upon you in your minority, and the 
bills which you have drawn upon him so unsparingly of late years, far 
exceed in amount the sum to which you are entitled in your own right, 
(being the third part of the fortune of your mother, the late Mrs. Osborne, 
and which, reverted to you at her decease, and to Miss Jane Osborne and 
Miss Maria Frances Osborne ;) yet I am instructed by Mr. Osborne to 
say, that he waives all claim upon your estate, and that the sum of £2000, 
4 per cent, annuities, at the value of the day (being your one-third share 
cf the sum of £6000,) shall be paid over to yourself or your agents upon 
your receipt for the same, by 

" Your obedient Servt., 



"S. Higg 



3. 



)5 



"P.S. — Mr. Osborne desires me to say, once for all, that he declines to 
receive any messages, letters, or communications from you on this or any 
other subject." 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 211 

"A pretty way you have managed the affair," said George, looking 
savagely at William Dobbin. " Look there-, Dobbin," and he flung over 
to the latter his parent's letter. " A beggar, by Jove, and all in conse- 
quence of my d — d sentimentality. Why couldn't we have waited ? A 
ball might have done for me in the course of the war, and may still, and 
how will Emmy be bettered by being left a beggar's widow ? It was all 
your doing. You were never easy until you had got me married and 
ruined. What the deuce am I to do with two thousand pounds ? Such 
a sum won't last two years. I 've lost a hundred and forty to Grawley at 
cards and billiards since I 've been down here. A pretty manager of a 
• man's matters you are, forsooth." 

"There 's no denying that the position is a hard one," Dobbin replied, 
after-reading over the letter with a blank countenance ; " and, as you say, 
it is partly of my making. There are some men that wouldn't mind changing 
with you," he added, with a bitter smile. • " How many Captains in the 
regiment have two thousand pounds to the fore, think you ? You must 
live on your pay till your father relents, and if you die, you leave your 
wife a hundred a year." 

"Do you suppose a man of my habits can live on his pay and a hun- 
dred a year?" George cried out in great anger. " You must be a fool to 
talk so, Dobbin. How the deuce am I to keep up my position in the 
world upon such a pitiful pittance? I can't change my habits. I must 
have my comforts. / wasn't brought up on porridge like MacWhirter, or 
on potatoes, like old O'Dowd. Do you expect my wife to take in soldiers' 
washing, or ride after the regiment in a baggage waggon ? " 

" Well, well," said Dobbin, still good-naturedly, " we '11 get her a better 
conveyance. But try and remember that you are only a dethroned prince 
now, George, my boy ; and be quiet whilst the tempest lasts. It won't be 
for long. Let your name be mentioned in the Gazette, and I '11 engage 
the old father relents towards vou." 

" Mentioned in the Gazette ! " George answered. " And in xvhat part 
of it ? Among the killed and wounded returns, and at the top of the list, 
very likely." 

" Psha ! It will be time enough to cry out when we are hurt," Dobbin 
said. " And if anything happens, you know, George, I have got a little, 
and I am not a marrying man, and I shall not forget my godson in my 
will," he added, with a smile. Whereupon the dispute ended, — as many 
scores of such conversations between Osborne and his friend had concluded 
previously — by the former declaring there was no possibility of being angry 
with Dobbin long, and forgiving him very generously after abusing him 
without cause. 

" I say, Becky," cried Bawdon Crawley out of his dressing-room, to 
his lady, who was attiring herself for dinner in her own chamber. 

'■' What ? " said Becky's shrill voice. She was looking over her shoulder 
in the glass. She had put on the neatest and freshest white frock imagin- 
able, and with bare shoidders and a little necklace, and a light blue sash, 
she looked the image of youthful innocence and girlish happiness. 

"I say, what '11 Mrs. 0. do, when O. goes out with the regiment?" 
Crawley said coming into the room, performing a duet on his head with 

P 2 



212 



VANITY FAIR. 



two huge hair-brushes, and looking out from under his hair with admira- 
tion on his pretty little wife. 

" I suppose she '11 cry her eyes out," Becky answered. " She has been 
whimpering half-a-dozen of times at the very notion of it, already to me." 

" You don't care, I suppose," Kawdon said, half angry at his wife's 
want of feeling. 

" You wretch ! don't you know that I intend to go with you," Becky 
replied. "Besides, you're different. You go as General Tufto's aide- 
de-camp. We don't belong to the line," Mrs. Crawley said, throw- 
ing up her head with an air that so enchanted her husband that he stooped 
down and kissed it. 

" Eawdon, dear — don't you think — you 'd better get that — money from 
Cupid, before he goes ? " Becky continued, fixing on a kiUing bow. She 
called George Osborne, Cupid. She had flattered him about his good 
looks a score of times already. She watched over him kindly at ecarte of* 
a night when he would drop in to Eawdon's quarters for a half-hour 
before bed-time. 




She had often called him a horrid dissipated wretch, and threatened to 
tell Emmy of his wicked ways and naughty extravagant habits. She 
brought his cigar and lighted for him j she knew the effect of that manoeuvre, 




iff Cys/?//?/?/ rss/;/// ,// r r S's////<:y£ ^ 



'tf/tSfZi 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 213 

having practised it in former days upon Bawdon Crawley. He thought 
her gay, brisk, arch, distinguee, delightful. In their little drives and 
dinners Becky, of course, quite outshone poor Emmy, who remained 
very mute and timid while Mrs. Crawley and her husband rattled away 
together, and Captain Crawley (and Jos after he joined the young married 
people) gobbled in silence. 

Emmy's mind somehow misgave her about her friend. Kebecca's wit, 
spirits, and accomplishments troubled her with a rueful disquiet. They 
were only a week married, and here was George already suffering ennui 
and ea^er for others' society ! She trembled for the future. How shall 
I be a companion for him, she thought, — so clever and so brilliant, and I 
such a humble foolish creature ? How noble it was of him to marry me — 
to give up everything and stoop down to me. I ought to have refused 
him, only I had not the heart. I ought to have stopped at home and 
taken care of poor papa. And her neglect of her parents (and indeed 
there was some foundation for this charge which the poor child's uneasy 
conscience brought against her) was now remembered for the first time, 
and caused her to blush with humiliation. Oh ! thought she, I have been 
very wicked and selfish — selfish in forgetting them in their sorrows — 
selfish in forcing George to many me. I know I 'm not worthy of him — 
I know he would have been happy without me — and yet — I tried, I tried 
to give him up. 

It is hard when, before seven days of marriage are over, such thoughts 
and confessions as these force themselves on a little bride's mind. But so 
it was, and the night before Dobbin came to join these" young people — on 
a fine brilliant moonlight night of May — so warm and balmy that the 
windows were flung open to the balcony, from which George and Mrs. 
Crawley were gazing upon the calm ocean spread shining before them, 
while Bawdon and Jos were engaged at back gammon within — Amelia 
couched in a great chair quite neglected, and watching both these parties, 
felt a despair and remorse such as were bitter companions for that tender 
lonely soul. Scarce a week was past, and it was come to this ! The future, 
had she regarded it, offered a dismal prospect ; but Emmy was too shy, so 
to speak, to look to that, and embark alone on that wide sea, and unfit to 
navigate it without a guide and protector. I know Miss Smith has a 
mean opinion of her. But how many, my dear Madam, are endowed 
with your prodigious strength of mind ? • • 

" Gad, what a fine night, and how bright the moon is !" George said, 
with a puff of his cigar, which went soaring up skywards. 

"How delicious they smell in the open air ! I adore them. Who 'd 
think the moon was two hundred and thirty-six thousand eight hundred 
and forty-seven miles off?" she added, gazing at that orb with a smile. 
" Isn 't it clever of me to remember that ? Pooh ! we learned it all at Miss 
Pinkerton's ! How calm the sea is, and how clear everything. I declare 
I can almost see the coast of Prance f" and her bright green eyes streamed 
out, and shot into the night as if they could see through it. 

' " Do you know what I intend to do one morning ?" she said ; " I find I 
can swim beautifully, and some day, when my Aunt Crawley's companion — 
old Briggs, you know — you remember her — that hook-nosed woman, with 



214 VANITY FAIIJ. 

the long wisps of hair — when Briggs goes out to Lathe, I intend to dive 
under her awning, and insist on a reconciliation in the water. Isn't that 
a stratagem ? " 

George burst out laughing at the idea of this aquatic meeting. " "What's 
the row there, you two?" Rawdon shouted out, rattling the box. 
Amelia was making a fool of herself in an absurd hysterical manner, and 
retired to her own room to whimper hr private. 

Our history is destined in this Chapter to go backwards and forwards in 
a very irresolute manner seemingly, and having conducted our story to 
to-morrow presently, we shall immediately again have occasion to step back 
to yesterday, so that the whole of the tale may get a hearing. As you be- 
hold at her Majesty's drawing-room, the ambassadors' and high dignitaries' 
carriages whisk off from a private door, while Captain Jones's ladies are 
waiting for then- fly : as you see in the Secretary of the Treasury's ante- 
chamber, a half-dozen of petitioners waiting patiently for their audience, and 
called out one by one, when suddenly an Irish member or some eminent per- 
sonage enters the apartment, and instantly walks into Mr. Under-Secretary 
over the heads of all the people present : so in the conduct of a tale, the 
romancer is obliged to exercise this most partial sort of justice. Although 
all the little incidents must be heard, yet they must be put off when the 
great events make their appearance ; and surely such a circumstance as 
that which brought Dobbin to Brighton, viz. the ordering out of the 
Guards and the bne to Belgium, and the mustering of the allied armies in 
that country under the command of his Grace the Duke of Wellington — 
such a dignified circumstance as that I say — was entitled to the pas over all 
minor occurrences whereof this history is composed mainly, and hence a 
little trifling disarrangement and disorder was excusable and becoming. 
We have only now advanced in time so far beyond Chapter XXII. as to 
have got our various characters up into their dressing-rooms before the 
dinner, which took place as usual on the day of Dobbin's arrival. 

George was too humane or too much occupied with the tie of his neck- 
cloth to convey at once all the news to Amelia which his comrade had 
brought with him from Loudon. He came into her room, however, hold- 
ing the attorney's letter in his hand, and with so solemn and important an 
air that Ms wife, always ingeniously on the watch for calamity, thought the 
worst was about to befal, and running up to her husband, besought her 
dearest George to tell her everything — lie was ordered abroad; there 
would be a battle next week — she knew there woidd. 

Dearest George parried the question about foreign service, and with a 
melancholy shake of the head said, " No, Emmy ; it isn 't that : it 's not 
myself I care about : it 's you. I have had bad news from my father. 
He refuses any communication with me ; he has flung us off ; and leaves- 
us to poverty. I can rough it well enough ; but you, my dear, how will 
you bear it ? read here. And he handed her over the letter. 

Amelia, with a look of tender alarm in her eyes, listened to her noble 
hero as he uttered the above generous sentiments, and sitting down on the 
bed, read the' letter wliich George gave her with such a pompous martyr- 
like air. Her face cleared up as she read the document, however. The idea 
of sharing poverty and privation in company with the beloved object, is, 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 215 

as we have before said, far from being disagreeable to a warm-hearted 
woman. The notion was actually pleasant to little Amelia. Then, as usual, 
she was ashamed of herself for feebng happy at such an indecorous moment, 
and checked her pleasure, saying demurely, " 0, George, how your poor 
heart must bleed at the idea of being separated from your papa." 

" It does," said George, with an agonised countenance. 

"But be can't be angry with you long," she continued. "Nobody 
could, I'm sure. He must forgive you, my dearest, kindest husband. 
0, I shall never forgive myself if he does not." 

" What vexes me, my poor Emmy, is not my misfortune, but yours," 
George said. "I don't care for a little poverty; and I think, without 
vanity, I 've talents enough to make my own way." 

" That you have," interposed his wife, who thought that war should 
cease, and her husband should be made a general instantly. 

" Yes, I shall make my way as well as another," Osborne went on ; 
" but you, my dear girl, how can I bear your being deprived of the com- 
forts and station in society which my wife had a right to expect ? My 
dearest girl in barracks ; the wife of a soldier in a marching regiment ; 
subject to all sorts of annoyance and privation ! It makes me miserable." 

Emmy, quite at ease, as this was her husband's only cause of disquiet, 
took his hand, and with a radiant face and smile began to warble that 
stanza from the favourite song of " TVapping Old Stab's," in which the 
heroine, after rebuking her Tom for inattention, promises "his trowsers to 
mend, and his grog too to make," if he will be constant and kind, and not 
forsake her. "Besides," she said, after a pause, during which she 
looked as pretty and happy as any young woman need, " isn't two thou- 
sand pounds an immense deal of money, George?" 

George laughed at her naivete ; and finally they went down to dinner, 
Amelia clinging on George's arm, still warbling the tune of " Wapping Old 
Stairs," and more pleased and light of mind than she had been for some 
days past. 

Thus the repast, which at length came off, instead of being dismal, was 
an exceedingly brisk and merry one. The excitement of the campaign 
counteracted in George's mind the depression occasioned by the disin- 
heriting letter. Dobbin still kept up his character of rattle. He amused 
the company with accounts of the army in Belgium, where nothing but 
fetes and gaiety and fashion were going on. Then, having a particular 
end in view, this dexterous captain proceeded to describe Mrs. Major 
O'Dowd, packing her own and her Major's wardrobe, and how his best 
epaulets had been stowed into a tea canister, whilst her own famous 
yellow turban, with the bird of paradise wrapped in brown paper, was 
locked up in the Major's tin cocked-hat case, and wondered what effect it 
would have at the French king's court at Ghent, or the great military 
balls at Brussels. 

"Ghent! Brussels!" cried out Amelia with a sudden shock and start. 
"Is the regiment ordered away, George, — is it ordered away?" A look of 
terror came over the sweet smiling face, and she" clung to George as by an 
instinct. 

" Don't be afraid, dear," he said good-naturedly; "it is but a twelve 
hour's passage. It won't hurt you. You shall go, too, Emmy '" 



J 3 



216 VANITY FAIR. 



" 1 intend to go," said Becky, " I'm on the staff. General Tufto is a 
great flirt of mine. Is'nt he, Rawdon?" 

Rawdon laughed out with his usual roar. William Dobbin flushed up 
quite red. " She can't go," he said; "think of the — of the danger," he 
was going to add ; but had not all his conversation during dinner-time 
tended to prove there was none? He became very confused and silent. 

" I must and will go," Amelia cried with the greatest spirit ; and George, 
applauding her resolution, patted her under the chin, and asked all the per- 
sons present if they ever saw such a termagant of a wife, and agreed that 
the lady should bear him company. " We'll have Mrs. O'Dowd to chaperon 
you," he said. What cared she so long as her husband was near her ? 
Thus somehow the bitterness of a parting was juggled away. Though 
war and danger were in store, Avar and danger might not befal for months 
to come. There was a respite at any rate, which made the timid little 
Amelia almost as happy as a full reprieve would have done, and which even 
Dobbin owned in his heart was very welcome. For, to be permitted to see 
her was now the greatest privilege and hope of his life, and he thought with 
himself secretly how he would watch and protect her. I wouldn't have 
let her go if I had been married to her, he thought. But George was the 
master, and his friend did not think fit to remonstrate. 

Putting her arm round her friend's waist, Rebecca at length earned 
Amelia off from the dinner-table where so much business of importance 
had been discussed, and left the gentlemen in a highly exhilarated state,- 
•drinking and talking very gaily. 

In the course of the evening Rawdon got a little family-note from his 
wife, which although he crumpled it up and burnt it instantly in the candle, 
we had the good luck to read over Rebecca's shoulder. " Great news," 
she wrote. "Mrs. Bute is gone. Get the money from Cupid to-night, 
as he'll be off to-morrow most likely. Mind this. — R." So when the little 
company was about adjourning to coffee in the women's apartment, Raw- 
don touched Osborne on the elbow, and said gracefully, " I say, Osborne, 
my boy, if quite convenient, I '11 trouble you for that 'ere small trifle." It 
was not quite convenient, but nevertheless George gave him a considerable 
present instalment in bank notes from his pocket-book, and a bill on his 
agents at a week's date, for the remaining sum. 

This matter arranged, George, and Jos, and Dobbin, held a council of 
war over their cigars, aud agreed that a general move should be made for 
London in Jos's open carriage the next day. Jos, I think, would have 
preferred staying xintil Rawdon Crawley quitted Brighton, but Dobbin 
and George overruled him, and he agreed to carry, the party to town, 
.and ordered four horses, as became his dignity. With these they set off 
in state, after breakfast, the next day. Amelia had risen very early in the 
morning, and packed her little trunks with the greatest alacrity, while 
Osborne lay in bed deploring that she had not a maid to help her. She 
was only too glad, however, to perform this office' for herself. A dim 
uneasy sentiment about Rebecca filled her mind already; and although 
they kissed each other most tenderly at parting, yet we know what 
jealousy is ; and Mrs. Amelia possessed that among other virtues of her sex. 

Besides these characters who are coming and going away, we must 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 



217 



remember that there were some other old friends of ours at Brighton ; 
Miss Crawley, namely, and the suite in attendance upon her. Now, 
although Bebecca and her husband were but at a few stones' throw of the 
lodgings which the invalid Miss Crawley occupied, the old lady's door 
remained as pitilessly closed to them as it had been heretofore in London. 
As long as she remained by the side of her sister-in-law, Mrs. Buta 
Crawley took care that her beloved Matilda should not be agitated by a 
meeting with her nephew. When the spinster took her drive, the faithful 
Mrs. Bute sate beside her in the carriage. When Miss Crawley took the 
air in a chair, Mrs. Bute marched on one side of the vehicle, whilst honest 
Briggs occupied the other wing. And if they met Bawdon and his wife 
by chance — although the former constantly and obsequiously took off his 
hat, the Miss-Crawley party passed him by with such a frigid and killing 
indifference, that Kawdon began to despair. 

" We might as well be in London as here," Captain Bawdon often said, 
with a downcast ah-. 

" A comfortable inn in Brighton is better than a spunging-house in 
Chancery Lane," his wife answered, who was of a more cheerful tempera- 
ment. " Think of those two aides-de-camp of Mr. Moses, the sheriffs- 




officer, who watched our lodging for a week. Our friends here are very 



218 VANITY FAIR. 



stupid, but Mr. Jos and Captain Cupid are better companions than Mr. 
Moses's men, Kawdon, my love." 

" I wonder the writs haven't followed me down here," Eawdon con- 
tinued, still desponding, 

" When they do, we '11 find means to give them the slip," said dauntless 
little Becky, and further pointed out to her husband the great comfort 
and advantage of meeting Jos and Osborne, whose acquaintance had 
b rought to Bawdon Crawley a most timely little supply of ready money. 

" It will hardly be enough to pay the inn bill," grumbled the Guardsman. 

" Why need we pay it ? " said the lady, who had an answer for every- 
thing. 

Through Bawdon's valet, who still kept up a trifling acquaintance with 
the male inhabitants of Miss Crawley's servants' hall, and was instructed 
to treat the coachman to drink whenever they met, old Miss Crawley's 
movements were pretty well known by our young couple ;. and Bebecca 
luckily bethought herself of being unwell, and of calling in the same 
apothecary who was in attendance upon the spinster, so that their inform- 
ation was on the whole tolerably complete. Nor was Miss Briggs, 
although forced to adopt a hostile attitude, secretly inimical to Bawdon 
and his wife. She was naturally of a kindly and forgiving disposition. 
Now that the cause of jealousy was removed, her dislike for Eebecca dis- 
appeared also, and she remembered the latter's invariable good words and 
good humour. And, indeed, she and Mrs. Firkin, the lady's-maid, and 
the whole of Miss Crawley's household, secretly groaned under the tyranny 
of the triumphant Mrs. Bute. 

As often will be the case, that good but imperious woman pushed her 
advantages too far, and her successes quite unmercifully. She had in 
the course of a few weeks brought the invalid to such a state of helpless 
docility, that the poor soul yielded herself entirely to her sister's orders, 
and did not even dare to complain of her slavery to Briggs or Firkin. 
Mrs. Bute measured out the glasses of wine which Miss Crawley was 
daily allowed to take with irresistible accuracy, greatly to the annoyance 
of Firkin and the butler, who found themselves deprived of control over 
even the Sherry -bottle. She apportioned the sweet-breads, jellies, 
chickens ; their quantity and order. Night and noon and morning she 
brought the abominable drinks ordained by the Doctor, and made her 
patient swallow them with so affecting an obedience, that Firkin said my 
poor Missus du take her physic like a lamb. She prescribed the drive in 
the carriage or the ride in the chair, and, in a word, ground down the old 
lady in her convalescence in such a way as only belongs to your proper- 
managing, motherly, moraL woman. If ever the patient faintly resisted, 
and pleaded for a little bit more dinner or a little drop less medicine, the 
nurse threatened her with instantaneous death, when Miss Crawley in- 
stantly gave in. " She 's no spirit left in her," Firkin remarked to Briggs ; 
" she aint ave called me a fool these three weeks." 7 Finally, Mrs. Bute 
had made up her mind to dismiss the aforesaid honest lady's-maid, Mr. 
Bowls the large confidential man, and Briggs herself, and to send for her 
daughters from the Eectory, previous to removing the dear invalid bodily 
to Queen's Crawley, when an odious accident happened winch called her 
away from duties so pleasing. The Beverend Bute Crawley her husband, 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 219 

riding home one night, fell with his horse and broke his collar-bone. Fever 
and inflammatory symptoms set in, and Mrs. Bute was forced to leave 
Sussex for Hampshire. As soon as ever Bute was restored she promised 
to return to her dearest friend, and departed, leaving the strongest injunc- 
tions with the household regarding their behaviour to their mistress ; and 
as soon as she got into the Southampton coach, there was such a jubilee and 
sense of relief in all Miss Crawley's house, as the company of persons 
assembled there had not experienced for many a week before. That very 
day Miss Crawley left off her afternoon dose of medicine : that afternoon 
Bowls opened an independent bottle of Sherry for himself and Mrs. Firkin : 
that night Miss Crawley and Miss Briggs indidged in a game of picquet 
instead of one of Porteus's sermons. It was as in the old nursery-story, 
when the stick forgot to beat the dog, and the whole course of events 
underwent a peaceful and happy revolution. 

At a very early hour in the morning, twice or thrice a week, Miss Briggs 
used to betake herself to a bathing-machine, and disport in the water in a 
flannel gown, and an oilskin cap. Rebecca, as we have seen, was aware of 
this circumstance, and though she did not attempt to storm Briggs as she 
had threatened, and actually dive into that lady's presence and surprise 
her under the sacredness of the awning, Mrs. Bawdon determined to 
attack Briggs as she came away from her bath, refreshed and invigorated 
by her dip, and likely to be in good humour. 

So, getting up very early the next morning, Becky brought the 
telescope in their sitting-room, which faced the sea, to bear upon the 
bathing-machines on the beach ; saw Briggs arrive, enter her box, and put 
out to sea ; and was on the shore just as the nymph of whom she came in 
quest stepped out of the little caravan on to the shingles. It was a pretty 
picture : the beach ; the bathing-women's faces ; the long line of rocks and 
building were blushing and bright in the sunshine. Bebecca wore a kind, 
tender smile on her face, and was holding out her pretty white hand as 
Briggs emerged from the box. ^Yhat could Briggs do but accept the . 
salutation ? 

" Miss Sh — , Mrs. Crawley," she said. 

Mrs. Crawley seized her hand, pressed it to her heart, and with a sud- 
den impulse, flinging her arms round Briggs, kissed her affectionately. 
"Dear, dear friend!" she said, with a touch of such natural feeling, that 
Miss Briggs of course at once began to melt, and even the bathing-woman 
was mollified. 

Bebecca found no diffi.cultv in ensrasTns; Brings in a lona:, intimate, 

*■ OOO Do C * 

and delightful conversation. Every thing that had passed since the morn- 
ing of Becky's sudden departure from Miss Crawley's house in Park 
Lane up to the present day, and Mrs. Bute's happy retreat, was discussed 
and described by Briggs. All Miss Crawley's symptoms, and the particu- 
lars of her illness and medical treatment, were narrated by the confidante 
with that fulness and accuracy which women delight in. About their 
complaints and their doctors do ladies ever tire of talking to each other ? 
Briggs did not on this occasion ; nor did Bebecca weary of listening. She 
was thankful, truly thankful, that the dear kind Briggs, that the faithful, 
the invaluable Ffrkin, had been permitted to remain with their benefactress 



220 VANITY FAIR. 

through her illness. Heaven bless her ! though she, Bebecca, had seemed 
to act undutifully towards Miss Crawley ; yet was not her fault a natural 
and excusable one ? Could she help giving her hand to the man who had 
won her heart ? Briggs, the sentimental, could only turn up her eyes to 
heaven at this appeal, and heave a sympathetic sigh, and think that she, 
too, had given away her affections long years ago, and own that Kebecca 
was no very great criminal. 

" Can I ever forget her who so befriended the friendless orphan ? Xo, 
though she has cast me off," the latter said, " I shall never cease to love 
her, and I would devote my life to her service. As my own benefactress, 
as my beloved Kawdon's adored relative, I love and admire Miss Crawley, 
dear Miss Briggs, beyond any woman in the world, and next to her I love 
all those who are faithful to her. I would never have treated Miss 
Crawley's faithful friends as that odious designing Mrs. Bute had done. 
Bawdon, who was all heart," Bebecca continued, " although his outward 
manners might seem rough and careless, had said a hundred times, with 
tears in his eyes, that he blessed Heaven for sending his dearest Aunty two 
such admirable nurses as her attached Firkin and her admirable Miss 
Briggs. Should the machinations of the horrible Mrs. Bute end, as she 
too much feared they would, in banishing even-body that Miss Craw- 
ley loved from her side, and leaving that poor lady a victim to those 
harpies at the Bectory, Bebecca besought her (Miss Briggs) to remember, 
that her own home, humble as it was, was always open to receive Briggs. 
Dear friend," she exclaimed, in a transport of enthusiasm, " some hearts 
can neve)- forget benefits; all women are not Bute Crawleys ! Though why 
should I complain of her," Bebecca added ; " though I have been her tool 
and the victim to her arts, do I not owe my dearest Bawdon to her?" 
And Bebecca unfolded to Briggs all Mrs. Bute's conduct at Queen's 
Crawley, which, though unintelligible to her then, was clearly enough 
explained by the events now, — now that the attachment had sprung up 
which Mrs. Bute had encouraged by a thousand artifices, — now that two 
innocent people had fallen into the snares which she had laid for them, 
and loved and married and been ruined through her schemes. 

It was all verv true. Brigrsrs saw the stratagems as clearlv as possible. 
Mrs. Bute had made the match between Bawdon and Bebecca. let, 
though the latter was a perfectly innocent victim, Miss Briggs could not 
disguise from her friend her fear that Miss Crawley's affections were 
hopelessly estranged from Bebecca, and that the old lady would never 
forgive her nephew for making so imprudent a marriage. 

On this point Bebecca had her own opinion, and still kept up a good 
heart. If Miss Crawley did not forgive them at present, she might at least 
relent on a future day. Even now, there was only that puling, sickly Pitt 
Crawley between Bawdon and a baronetcy ; and should anything happen 
to the former, all would be well. At all events, to have Mrs. Bute's 
designs exposed, and herself well abused, was a satisfaction, and might be 
advantageous to Bawdon' s interest ; and Bebecca, after an hour's chat 
with her recovered friend, left her with the most tender demonstrations of 
regard, and quite assured that the conversation they had had together 
would be reported to Miss Crawley before many hours were over. 



A NOYEL WITHOUT A HERO. 221 

This interview ended, it became full time for Rebecca to return to her 
inn, where all the party of the previous day were assembled at a farewell 
breakfast. Rebecca took such a tender leave of Amelia as became two 
women who loved each other as sisters ; and having used her handkerchief 
plentifully, and hung on her friend's neck as if they were parting for ever, and 
waved the handkerchief (which was quite dry, by the way) out of window, 
as the carriage drove off; she came back to the breakfast-table, and 
ate some prawns with a good deal of appetite, considering her emotion ; 
and while she was munching these delicacies, explained to Rawdon what 
had occurred in her morning walk between herself and Briggs. Her hopes 
were very high : she made her husband share them. She generally suc- 
ceeded in making her husband share all her opinions, whether melancholy 
or cheerful. 

" You will now, if you please, my dear, sit down at the writing-table 
and pen me a pretty little letter to Miss Crawley, in which you'll say that 
you are a good boy, and that sort of thing." So Rawdon sate down, and 
wrote off, "Brighton, Thursday," and "My dear Aunt," with great 
rapidity : but there the gallant officer's imagination failed him. He 
mumbled the end of his pen, and looked up in his wife's face. She could 
not help laughing at his rueful countenance, and, marching up and down 
the room with her hands behind her, the little woman began to dictate a 
letter, which he took down. 

"Before quitting the country and commencing a campaign, which very 
possibly may be fatal," 

" What?" said Rawdon, rather surprised, but took the humour of the 
phrase, and presently wrote it down with a grin. 

" Which very possibly may be fatal, I have come hither — " 

" Why not say come here; Becky, come here 's grammar," the dragoon 
interposed. 

" 1 have come hither," Rebecca insisted with a stamp of her foot, " to say 
farewell to my dearest and earliest friend. I beseech you before I go, not 
perhaps to return, once more to let me press the hand from wliich I have 
received nothing but kindnesses all my hfe." 

" Kindnesses all my life," echoed Rawdon, scratching down the words, 
and quite amazed at his own facility of composition. 

" I ask nothing from you but that we should part not in anger. I have 
the pride of my family on some points, though not on all. I married a 
painter's daughter, and am not ashamed of the union." 

" No, run me through the body if I am !" Rawdon ejaculated. 

" You old booby," Rebecca said, pinching his ear and looking over to 
see that he made no mistakes in spelling — " beseech is not spelt with an a, 
and earliest is." So he altered these words, bowing to the superior know- 
ledge of his little Missis. 

" I thought that you were aware of the progress of my attachment," 
Rebecca continued : " I knew that Mrs. Bute Crawley confirmed and 
encouraged it. But 1 make no reproaches. I married a poor woman, and 
am content to abide by what I have done. Leave your property, dear 
Aunt, as you will. / shall never complain of the way in which you dis- 
pose of it. I would have you believe that I love yon for yourself, and not 



222 YANITT FAIR. 



for money's sake. I want to be reconciled to you ere I leave England. 
Let me, let me see you before I go. A few weeks or months hence it may 
be too late, and I cannot bear the notion of quitting the country without a 
kind word of farewell from you." 

" She won't recognize my style in that" said Becky. "I made the sen- 
tences short and brisk on purpose." And this authentic missive was dis- 
patched under cover to Miss Briggs. 

Old Miss Crawley laughed when Briggs with great mystery handed her 
over this candid and simple statement. " We may read it now Mrs. Bute 
is away," she said. " Bead it to me, Briggs." 

When Briggs had read the epistle out, her patroness laughed more. 
" Don't you see, you goose," she said to Briggs, who professed to be much 
touched by the honest affection which pervaded the composition, " Don't 
you see that Bawdon never wrote a word of it. He never wrote to me 
without asking for money in his life, and all his letters are full of bad 
spelling, and dashes, and bad grammar. It is that little serpent of a 
governess who rules him." They are all alike, Miss Crawley thought in 
her heart. They all want me dead, and are hankering for my money. 

" I don't mind seeing Bawdon," she added, after a pause, and in a tone 
of perfect indifference. " I had just as soon shake hands with him as 
not. Provided there is no scene, why shouldn't we meet? I don't 
mind. But human patience has its limits ; and mind, my dear, I respect- 
fully decline to receive Mrs. Bawdon — I can't support that quite" — and Miss 
Briggs was fain to be content with this half-message of conciliation ; and 
thought that the best method of bringing the old lady and her nephew 
together, was to warn Bawdon to be in waiting on the Cliff, when Miss 
Crawley went out for her ah - in her chair. 

There they met. I don't know whether Miss Crawley had any private 
feeling of regard, or emotion upon seeing her old favourite ; but she held out 
a couple of fingers to him with as smiling and good-humoured an ah', as if 
they had met only the day before. And as for Bawdon, he turned as red 
as scarlet, and wrung off Briggs's hand, so great was his rapture and his 
confusion at the meeting. Perhaps it was interest that moved him : or 
perhaps affection : perhaps he was touched by the change which the illness 
of the last weeks had wrought in his aunt. 

" The old girl has always acted like a trump to me," he said to his 
wife, as he narrated the interview, " and I felt, you know, rather queer, 
and that sort of thing. I walked by the side of the what-dy'e-call-'em, 
you know, and to her own door, where Bowls came to help her in. 
And I wanted to go in very much, only — " 

" You didn't go in, Bawdon !" screamed his wife. 

"No, my dear, I'm hanged if I wasn't afraid when it came to the 
point." 

" You fool ! you ought to have gone in, and never come out again," 
Bebecca said. 

"Don't call me names," said the big guardsman, sulkily. " Perhaps I 
wm a fool, Becky, but you shouldn't say so;" and he gave his wife a 
look, such as his countenance could wear when angered, and such as 
was not pleasant to face. 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 223 

" Well, dearest, to-morrow you must be on the look-out, and go and 
see lier, mind, whether she asks you or no," Rebecca said, trying to 
soothe her angry yoke-mate. On which he replied, that he would do 
exactly as he liked, and would just thank her to keep a civil tongue in 
her head — and the wounded husband went away, and passed the forenoon 
at the biUiard-room, sulky, silent, and suspicious. 

But before the night was over he was compelled to give in, and own, 
as usual, to his wife's superior prudence and foresight, by the most melan- 
choly confirmation of the presentiments which she had regarding the 
consequences of the mistake which he had made. Miss Crawley must 
have had some emotion upon seeing him and shaking hands with him after 
so long a rupture. She mused upon the meeting a considerable time. 
" Rawdon is getting very fat and old, Briggs," she said to her compa- 
nion. " His nose has become red, and he is exceedingly coarse in appear- 
ance. His marriage to that woman has hopelessly vulgarised him. Mrs. 
Bute always said they drank - together ; and I have no doubt they do. 
Yes : he smelt of gin abominablv. I remarked it. Didn't you? " 

In vain Briggs interposed, that Mrs. Bute spoke ill of everybody : and, 
as far as a person in her humble position could judge, was an — 

"An artful designing woman? Yes, so she is, and she does speak ill 
of every one, — but I am certain that woman has made Bawdon drink. All 
those low people do — " 

" He was very much affected at seeing you, Ma'am," the companion 
said ; " and I am sine, when you remember that he is going to the field of 
danger — " 

" How much money has he promised you, Briggs ? " the old spinster 
cried out, working herself into a nervous rage — " there now, of course you 
begin to cry. I hate scenes. Why am I always to be worried ? Go and 
cry up in your own room, and send Firkin to me, — no, stop, sit down and 
blow your nose, and leave off crying, and write a letter to Captain Crawley." 
Poor Briggs went and placed herself obediently at the writing-book. Its 
leaves were blotted all over with relics of the firm, strong, rapid hand- 
writing of the spinster's late amanuensis, Mrs. Bute Crawley. 

"Begin 'My dear sir,' or ' Dear sir,' that will be better, and say you are 
desired by Mrs. Crawley — no, by Miss Crawley's medical man, by Mr. 
Creamer, to state, that my health is such that all strong emotions would 
be dangerous in my present deHcate condition — and that I must decline 
anv familv discussions or interviews whatever. And thank him for coming 
to Brighton, and so forth, and beg him not to stay any longer on my 
account. And, Miss Briggs, you may add that I wish him a bon voyage, 
and that if he will take the trouble to call upon my lawyer's in Grays Inn 
Square, he will find there a communication for him. Yes, that will do ; 
and that will make 1dm leave Brighton." The benevolent Briggs penned 
this sentence with the utmost satisfaction. 

" To seize upon me the very day after Mrs. Bute was gone," the old 
lady prattled on ; " it was too indecent. Briggs, my dear, write to Mrs. 
Crawley, and say she needn't come back. No — she needn't — and she 
shan't — and I won't be a slave in my own house — and I won't be starved 



224 VANITY FAIR. 



and choked with poison. They all want to kill me — all — all" — and with 
this the lonely old woman burst into a scream of hysterical tears. 

The last scene of her dismal Vanity Fair comedy was fast approaching ; 
the tawdry lamps were going out one by one ; and the dark curtain was 
almost ready to descend. 

That final paragraph, which referred Kawdon to Miss Crawley's solicitor 
in London, and which Briggs had written so good-naturedly, consoled the 
dragoon and his wife somewhat, after their first blank disappointment, on 
reading the spinster's refusal of a reconciliation. And it effected the pur- 
pose for which the old lady had caused it to be Avritten, by making 
Kawdon very eager to get to London. 

Out of Jos's losings and George Osborne's bank-notes, he paid his 
bill at the inn, the landlord whereof does not probably know to this day 
how doubtfully his account once stood. For, as a general sends his bag- 
gage to the rear before an action, Kebecca had wisely packed up all their 
chief valuables and sent them off under care of George's servant, who 
went in charge of the trunks on the coach back to London. Kawdon and 
his wife returned by the same conveyance next day. 

" I should have liked to see the old girl before we went," Kawdon said. 
" She looks so cut up and altered that I 'm sure she can't last long. I 
wonder what sort of a cheque I shall have at Waxy's. Two hundred— it 
can't be less than two hundred, — hey Becky? " 

In consequence of the repeated visits of the gentlemen whose portraits 
have been taken in a preceding page, Kawdon and his wife did not go 
back to their lodgings at Brompton, but put up at an inn. Early the next 
morning, Kebecca had an opportunity of seeing them as she skirted that 
suburb on her road to old Mrs. Sedley's house at Fulham, whither she 
went to look for her dear Amelia and her Brighton friends. They were all 
off to Chatham, thence to Harwich, to take shipping for Belgium with the 
regiment — kind old Mrs. Sedley very much depressed and tearful, solitary. 
Keturning from this visit, Kebecca found her husband, who had been off to 
Gray's Inn, and learnt his fate. He came back furious. 

" By Jove, Becky," says he, " she's only given me twenty pounds !" 

Though it told against themselves, the joke was too good, and Becky 
burst out laughing at Kawdon's discomfiture. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 




BETWEEN LONDON AND CHATHAM. 

N quitting Brighton, our friend George 
as became a person of rank and fashion 
travelling in a barouche with four horses, 
drove in state to a fine hotel in Caven- 
dish Square, where a suite of splendid 
rooms, and a table magnificently fur- 
nished with plate and surrounded by a 
half-dozen of black and silent waiters, 
was ready to receive the young gentle- 
man and his bride. George did the 
honours of the place with a princely air 
to Jos and Dobbin ; and Amelia, for the 
first time, and with exceeding shyness 
and timidity, presided at what George 
called her own table. 

George pooh-poohed the wane and bullied the waiters royally, and 
Jos gobbled the turtle with immense satisfaction. Dobbin helped him to 
it ; for the lady of the house, before whom the tureen was placed, was so 
ignorant of the contents, that she was going to help Mr. Sedley without 
bestowing upon him either calipash or calipee. 

The splendour of the entertainment, and the apartments in which it 
was given, alarmed Mr. Dobbin, who remonstrated after dinner, when 
Jos was asleep in the great chair. But, in vain he cried out against the 
enormity of turtle and champagne that was fit for an archbishop. " I 've 
always been accustomed to travel like a gentleman," George said, " and, 
damme, my wife shall travel like a lady. As long as there 's a shot in the 
locker, she shall want for nothing," said the generous fellow, quite 
pleased with himself for his magnificence of spirit. Nor did Dobbin 
try and convince him, that Amelia's happiness was not centred in 
turtle-soup. 

A while after dinner, Amelia timidly expressed a wish to go and see 
her mamma, at Fulham : which permission George granted her with some 
grumbling. And she tripped away to her enormous bed-room, in the 
centre of which stood the enormous funereal bed, ' that the Emperor 
Halixander's sister slep in when the allied sufferings was here,' and put 
on her little bonnet and shawl with the utmost eagerness and pleasure. 
George was still drinking claret when she returned to the dining-room, 
and made no signs of moving. " Ar'n't you coming with me, dearest?" 
she asked him. No ; the c dearest' had 'business' that night. His man 
should get her a coach and go with her. And the coach being at the 

a 



226 VANITY FAIR. 



door of the hotel, Amelia made George a little disappointed curtsey after 
looking vainly into his face once or twice, and went sadly down the great 
staircase, Captain Dobbin after, who handed her into the vehicle, and 
saw it drive away to its destination. The very valet was ashamed of 
mentioning the address to the hackney-coachman before the hotel-waiters, 
and promised to instruct him when they got further on. 

Dobbin walked home to his old quarters at the Slaughters', thinking 
very likely that it would be delightful to be in that hackney-coach, along 
with Mrs. Osborne. George was evidently of quite a different taste ; for 
when he had taken wine enough, he went off to half-price at the play, to 
see Mr. Kean perform in Shylock. Captain Osborne w T as a great lover of 
the drama, and had himself performed high-comedy characters with great 
distinction in several garrison theatrical entertainments. Jos slept on 
until long after dark, when he woke up with a start at the motions of 
his servant, w T ho was removing and emptying the decanters on the table ; 
and the hackney-coach stand was again put into requisition for a carriage 
to convey this stout hero to his lodgings and bed. 

Mrs. Sedley, you may be sure, clasped her daughter to her heart with 
all maternal eagerness and affection, running out of the door as the carnage 
drew up before the bttle garden-gate, to welcome the weeping, trembling, 
young bride. Old Mr. Clapp, who was in his shirt-sleeves, trimming the 
garden-plot, shrank back alarmed. The Irish servant -lass rushed up from 
the kitchen and smiled a ' God bless you.' Amelia could hardly walk 
along the flags and up the steps into the parlour. • 

How the floodgates were opened and mother and daughter wept, when 
they were together embracing each other in this sanctuary, may readily be 
imagined by every reader who possesses the least sentimental turn. When 
don't ladies weep ? At what occasion of joy, sorrow, or other business of 
life ? and, after such an event as a marriage, mother and daughter were 
surely at liberty to give way to a sensibility which is as tender as it is 
refreshing. About a question of marriage I have seen women who hate 
each other kiss and cry together quite fondly. How much more do they 
feel w r hen they love ! Good mothers are married over again at their 
daughters' weddings : and as for subsequent events, who does not know 
how ultra-maternal grandmothers are ? — in fact a woman, until she is a 
grandmother, tloes not often really know what to be a mother is. Let us 
respect Amelia and her mamma whispering and whimpering and laughing 
and crying in the parlour and the twilight. Old Mr. Sedley did. He 
had not divined who was in the carriage when it drove up. He had not 
flown out to meet his daughter, though he kissed her very warmly when she 
entered the room (where he was occupied, as usual, with his papers and 
tapes and statements of accounts), and after sitting with the mother and 
daughter for a short time, he very wisely left the little apartment in their 
possession. 

George's valet was looking on in a very supercilious manner at Mr.' Clapp 
in his shirt-sleeves, watering his rose-bushes. He took off his hat, how- 
ever, with much condescension to Mr. Sedley, who asked news about his 
son-in-law, ' and about Jos's carriage, and whether his horses had been 
down to Brighton, and about that infernal traitor Bonaparty, and the war; 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 



227 



until the Irish maid-servant came with a plate and a bottle of wine, from 
which the old gentleman insisted upon helping the valet. He gave him a 




half-guinea too, which the servant pocketed with a mixture of wonder and 
contempt. " To the health of your master and mistress, Trotter," Mr. 
Sedley said, " and here's something to chink your health when you get 
home, Trotter." 

There were but nine days past since Amelia had left that little cottage 
and home — and yet how far off the time seemed since she had bidden it 
farewell. What a gulf lay between her and that past life. She could 
look back to it from her present standing-place, and contemplate, almost 
as another being, the young unmarried girl absorbed in her love, having 
no eyes but for one special object, receiving parental affection if not un- 
gratefully, at least indifferently, and as if it were her due — her whole 
heart and thoughts bent on the accomplishment of one desire. The review 
of those days, so lately gone yet so far away, touched her with shame ; and 
the aspect of the kind mother filled her with tender remorse. Was the 
prize gained — the heaven of life — and the winner still doubtful and un- 
satisfied? As his hero and heroine pass the matrimonial barrier, the 
novelist generally drops the curtain, as if the drama were over then : the 
doubts and struggles of life ended : as if, once landed in the marriage 
country, all were green and pleasant there : and wife and husband had 
nothing but to link each other's arms together, and wander gently down- 
wards towards old age in happy and perfect fruition. But our little Amelia 
was just on the bank of her new country, and was already looking 
anxiously back towards the sad friendly figures waving farewell to. her across 
the stream, from the other distant shore. 

q 2 



228 



VANITY FAIR. 



In honour of the young bride's arrival, her mother thought it necessary 
to prepare I don't, know what festive entertainment, and after the first 
ebullition of talk, took leave of Mrs. George Osborne for a while, and dived 
down to the lower regions of the house to a sort of kitchen-parlour 
(occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Clapp, and in the evening, when her dishes 
were washed and her curl-papers removed, by Miss Flannigan the Irish 
servant), there to take measures for the preparing of a magnificent orna- 
mented tea. All people have their ways of expressing kindness, and it 
seemed to Mrs. Sedley that a muffin and a quantity of orange marmalade 
spread out in a little cut-glass saucer would be peculiarly agreeable refresh- 
ments to Amelia in her most interesting situation. 

"While these delicacies were being transacted below, Amelia, leaving the 
drawing-room, walked up stairs and found herself, she scarce knew how, 
in the little room which she had occupied before her marriage, and in that 
veiy chair in which she had passed so many bitter hours. She sank back 
in its arms as if it were an old friend ; and fell to thinking over the past 
week, and the life beyond it. Already to be looking sadly and vaguely 
back : always to be pining for something which, when obtained, brought 
doubt and sadness rather than pleasure : here was the lot of our poor 
little creature, and harmless lost wanderer in the great struggling crowds 
of Vanity Fair. 

Here she sate, and recalled to herself fondly that image of George to 




A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 229 

which she had knelt before marriage. Did she own to herself how different 
the real man was from that superb young hero whom she had worshipped ? 
It requires many many years — and a man must be very bad indeed — 
before a woman's pride and vanity will let her own to such a confession. 
Then Bebecca's twinkling green eyes and baleful smile lighted upon her, 
and filled her with dismay. And so she sate for awhile indulging in her 
usual mood of selfish brooding, in that very listless melancholy attitude in 
which the honest maid-servant had found her, on the day when she brought 
up the letter in which George renewed his offer of marriage. 

She looked at the bttle white bed, which had been hers a few days 
before, and thought she would like to sleep in it that night, and wake, as 
formerly, with her mother smiling over her in the morning. Then she 
thought with terror of the great funereal damask pavilion in the vast and 
dingy state bed-room, which was awaiting her at the grand hotel in Caven- 
dish Square. Dear little white bed ! how many a long night had she 
wept on its pillow ! How she had despaired and hoped to die there; and 
now were not all her wishes accomplished, and the lover of whom she had 
despaired her own for ever ? Kind mother ! how patiently and tenderly 
she had watched round that bed ! She went and knelt down by the bed- 
side; and there this wounded and timorous, but gentle and loving soul, 
sought for consolation, where as yet, it must be owned, our little girl had 
but seldom looked for it. Love had been her faith hitherto ; and the sad, 
bleeding, disappointed heart, began to feel the want of another consoler. 

Have we a right to repeat or to overhear her prayers ? These, brother, 
are secrets, and out of the domain of Vanity Pair, in which our story lies. 

But this may be said, that when the tea was finally announced, our 
young lady came down stairs a great deal more cheerful ; that she did not 
despond, or deplore her fate, or think about George's coldness, or Bebecca's 
eyes, as she had been wont to do of late. She went down stairs, and 
kissed her father and mother, and talked to the old gentleman, and made 
him more merry than he had been for many a day. She sate down at 
the piano which Dobbin had bought for her, and sang over all her father's 
favourite old songs. She pronounced the tea to be excellent, and praised 
the exquisite taste in which the marmalade was' arranged in the saucers. 
And in determining to make everybody else happy, she found herself so ; 
and was sound asleep in the great funereal pavilion, and only woke up with 
a smile when George arrived from the theatre. 

Tor the next day, George had more important ' business ' to transact 
than that which took him to see Mr. Kean in Shylock. Immediately on 
his arrival in London he had written off to his father's solicitors, signifying 
his royal pleasure that an interview should take place between them on 
the morrow. His hotel losses at billiards and cards to Captain Crawley had 
almost drained the young man's purse, which wanted replenishing before 
he set out on his travels, and he had no resource but to infringe upon the 
two thousand pounds which the attorneys were commissioned to pay over 
to him. He had a perfect belief in his own mind that his father would 
relent before very long. How could any parent be obdurate for a length of 
time against such a paragon as he was ? If his mere past and personal 



230 VANITY FAIR. 



merits did not succeed in mollifying the father, George determined that he 
would distinguish himself so prodigiously in the ensuing campaign that 
the old gentleman must give in to him. And if not ? Bah ! the world 
was before him. His luck might change at cards, and there was a deal of 
spending in two thousand pounds. 

So he sent off Amelia once more in a carriage to her mamma, with strict 
orders and carte blanche to the two ladies to purchase everything requi- 
site for a lady of Mrs. George Osborne's fashion, who was going on a 
foreign tour. They had but one day to complete the outfit, and it may be 
imagined that their business therefore occupied them pretty fully. In a 
carriage once more, bustling about from milliner to linendraper, escorted 
back to the carriage by obsequious shopmen or polite owners, Mrs. Sedley 
was herself again almost, and sincerely happy for the first time since their 
misfortunes. Nor was Mrs. Amelia at all above the pleasure of shopping, 
and bargaining, and seeing and buying pretty things. (Would any man, 
the most philosophic, give twopence for a woman who was ?) She gave 
herself a little treat, obedient to her husband's orders, and purchased a 
quantity of lady's gear, showing a great deal of taste and elegant discern- 
ment, as all the shopfolks said. 

And about the war that was ensuing, Mrs. Osborne was not much alarmed ; 
Bonaparty was to be crushed almost without a struggle. Margate packets 
were sailing every day, filled with men of fashion and ladies of note, on their 
way to Brussels and Ghent. People were going not so much to a war as 
to a fashionable tour. The newspapers laughed the wretched upstart and 
swindler to scorn. Such a Corsican wretch as that withstand the armies 
of Europe and the genius of the immortal Wellington ! Amelia held him 
in utter contempt ; for it needs not to be said that this soft and gentle 
creature took her opinions from those people who surrounded her, such 
fidelity being much too humble-minded to think for itself. Well, in a word, 
she and her mother performed a great day's shopping, and she acquitted 
herself with considerable liveliness and credit on this her first appearance 
in the genteel world of London. 

George meanwhile, with his hat on one side, his elbows squared, and 
his swaggering martial air, made for Bedford Row, and stalked into the 
attorney's offices as if he was lord of every pale-faced clerk who was scrib- 
bling there. He ordered somebody to inform Mr. Higgs that Captain 
Osborne was waiting, in a fierce and patronizing way, as if the pekin of an 
attorney, who had thrice his brains, fifty times his money, and a thousand 
times his experience, was a wretched underling who should instantly leave 
all his business in life to attend on the Captain's pleasure. He did not 
see the sneer of contempt 'which passed all round the room, from the first 
clerk to the articled gents, from the articled gents to the ragged writers 
and white-faced runners, in clothes too tight for them, as he sate there 
tapping his boot with his cane, and thinking what a parcel of miserable 
poor devils these were. The miserable poor devils knew all about his affairs. 
They talked about them over their pints of beer at their public-house clubs 
to other clerks of a night. Ye Gods, what do not attorneys and attorneys' 
clerks know in London ! Nothing is hidden from their inquisition, and 
their familiars mutely ride our city. 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 231 

Perhaps George expected, when he entered Mr. Higgs's apartment, to 
find that gentleman commissioned to give him some message of compro- 
mise or conciliation from his father ; perhaps his haughty and cold 
demeanour was adopted as a sign of his spirit and resolution : but if so, 
his fierceness was met by a chilling coolness and indifference on the 
attorney's part, that rendered swaggering absurd. He pretended to be 
writing at a paper, when the Captain entered. " Pray, sit down, Sir, 55 
said he, " and I will attend to your little affair in a moment. Mr. Poe, 
get the release papers, if you please; 55 and then he fell to writing again. 

Poe having produced those papers, his chief calculated the amount of 
two thousand pounds stock at the rate of the day; and asked Captain 
Osborne whether he would take the siun in a cheque upon the bankers, 
or whether he should direct the latter to purchase stock to that amount. 
" One of the late Mrs. Osborne's trustees is out of town, 55 he said indif- 
ferently, "but my client wishes to meet your wishes, and have done 
with the business as quick as possible. 55 

" Give me a cheque, Sir, 55 said the Captain very surlily. " Damn the 
shillings and halfpence, Sir, 55 he added, as the lawyer was making out the 
amount of the draft ; and, flattering himself that by this stroke of mag- 
nanimity he had put the old quiz to the blush, he stalked out of his office 
with the paper in his pocket. 

" That chap will be in gaol in two years, 55 Mr. Higgs said to Mr. Poe. 

"Won't 0. come round, Sir, don't you think? 55 

" Won 5 t the monument come round, 5 ' Mr. Higgs replied. 

" He 5 s going it pretty fast, 55 said the clerk. " He 5 s only married a 
week, and I saw him and some other military chaps handing Mrs. High- 
flyer to her carriage after the play. 5 ' And then another case was called, 
and Mr. George Osborne thenceforth dismissed from these worthy gentle- 
men's memory. 

The draft was upon our friends Hulker and Bullock of Lombard Street, 
to whose house, still thinking he was doing business, George bent his 
way, and from whom he received his money. Frederick Bullock, Esq., 
whose yellow face was over a ledger, at which sate a demure clerk, hap- 
pened to be in the banking-room when George entered. His yellow face 
turned to a more deadly colour when he saw the Captain, and he slunk 
back guiltily into the inmost parlour. George was too busy gloating over 
the money (for he had never had such a sum before), to mark the coun- 
tenance or flight of the cadaverous suitor of his sister. 

Fred. Bullock told old Osborne of his son's appearance and conduct. 
" He came in as bold as brass," said Frederick. " He has drawn out 
every shilling. How long will a few hundred pounds last such a chap 
as that ? " Osborne swore with a great oath that he little cared when or 
how soon he spent it. Pred. dined every day in Bussell Square now. 
But altogether, George was highly pleased with his day's business. All 
his own baggage and outfit was put into a state of speedy preparation, 
and he paid Amelia's purchases with cheques on his agents, and with the 
splendour of a lord. 



CHAPTER XXVIT. 



IN WHICH AMELIA JOINS HEK REGIMENT. 




HEN Jos's fine carriage drove up to 
the inn door at Chatham, the first face 
which Amelia recognized was the 
friendly countenance of Captain Dob- 
bin, who had been pacing the street 
for an hour past in expectation of 
his friends' arrival. The Captain, with 
shells on his frock-coat, and a crimson 
sash and sabre, presented a military 
appearance, which made Jos quite 
proud to be able to claim such an 
acquaintance, and the stout civilian 
hailed him with a cordiality very 
different from the reception which 
Jos vouchsafed to his friends in 
Brighton and Bond Street. 

Along with the Captain was Ensign 
Stubble ; who, as the barouche neared 
the inn, burst out with an exclamation 
of " By Jove ! what a pretty girl ! " highly applauding Osborne's choice. 
Indeed, Amelia dressed in her wedding-pelisse and pink ribbons, with a 
flush in her face, occasioned by rapid travel through the open air, looked 
so fresh and pretty, as fully to justify the Ensign's compliment. Dobbin 
liked him for making it. As he stepped forward to help the lady out of 
the carriage, Stubble saw what a pretty little hand she gave him, and 
what a sweet pretty little foot came tripping down the step. He blushed 
profusely, and made the very best bow of which he was capable ; to which 
Amelia, seeing the number of the — th regiment embroidered on the 
Ensign's cap, replied with a blushing smile, and a curtsey on her part ; 
which finished the young Ensign on the spot. Dobbin took most kindly 
to Mr. Stubble from that day, and encouraged him to talk about Amelia 
in their private walks, and at each other's quarters. It became the fashion 
indeed among all the honest young fellows of the • — th to adore and 
admire Mrs. Osborne. Her simple artless ■behaviour, and modest kindness 
of demeanour, won all their unsophisticated hearts ; all which simplicity 
and sweetness are quite impossible to describe in print. But who has 
not beheld these among women, and recognized the presence of all sorts 
of qualities in them, even though they say no more to you than that 
they are engaged to dance the next quadrille, or that it is very hot 
weather? George, always the champion of his regiment, rose immensely 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 



233 



in the opinion of the youth of the corps, by his gallantry in marrying this 
portionless young creature, and by his choice of such a pretty kind 
partner. 

In the sitting-room which was awaiting the travellers, Amelia, to her 
surprise, found a letter addressed to Mrs. Captain Osborne. It was a 
triangular billet, on pink paper, and sealed with a dove and an olive 
branch, and a profusion of light-blue sealing wax, and it was written in a 
very large, though undecided female hand. 

" It 's Peggy O'Dowd's fist," said George, laughing. " I know it by the 
kisses on the seal." And in fact, it was a note from Mrs. Major O'Dowd, 
requesting the pleasure of Mrs. Osborne's company that very evening to 
a small friendly party. " You must go," George said. " You will make 
acquaintance with the regiment there. O'Dowd goes in command of the 
regiment, and Peggy goes in command of O'Dowd." 

But they had not been for many minutes in the enjoyment of Mrs. 
O'Dowd's letter, when the door was flung open, and a- stout jolly lady, in 
a riding-habit, followed by a couple of officers of Ours, entered the room. 




234 VANITY FAIE. 



" Sure, I couldn't stop till tay-time. Present me, Garge, my dear fellow, 
to your lady. Madam, I 'rn deloighted to see ye ; and to present to you 
me husband, Meejor O'Dowd ;" and with this, the jolly lady in the riding- 
habit grasped Amelia's hand very warmly, and the latter knew at once 
that the lady was before her whom her husband had so often laughed at. 
" You 've often heard of me from that husband of yours," said the lady 
with great vivacity. 

"You've often heard of her," echoed her husband, the Major. 

Amelia answered, smiling, "that she had." 

"And small good he 's told you of me," Mrs. O'Dowd replied; adding 
that " George was a wicked divvle." 

" That I '11 go bail for," said the Major, trying to look knowing, at which 
George laughed ; and Mrs. O'Dowd, with a tap of her whip, told the 
Major to be quite ; and then requested to be presented in form to Mrs. 
Captain Osborne. 

" This, my dear," said George with great gravity, " is my very good, 
kind, and excellent friend, Auralia Margaretta, otherwise called Peggy." 

" Faith, you 're right," interposed the Major. 

" Otherwise called Peggy, lady of Major Michael O'Dowd of our regi- 
ment, and daughter of Fitzjurld Ber'sford de Burgo Malony of Glen- 
malony, County Kildare." 

"And Muryan Squeer, Doblin," said the lady with calm superiority. 

"And Muryan Square, sure enough," the Major whispered. 

"'Twas there ye coorted me, Meejor, dear," the lady said; and the 
Major assented to this as to every other proposition which was made 
generally in company. 

Major O'Dowd, who had served his sovereign in every quarter of the world, 
and had paid for every step in his profession by some more than equiva- 
lent act of daring and gallantry, was the most modest, silent, sheep-faced 
and meek of little men, and as obedient to his wife as if he had been her 
tay-boy. At the mess-table he sate silently, and drank a great deal. When 
full of liquor, he reeled silently home. When he spoke, it was to agree 
with everybody on every conceivable point; and he passed through life in 
perfect ease and good humour. The hottest suns of India never heated 
his temper ; and the Walcheren ague never shook it. He walked up to a 
battery with just as much indifference as to a dinner-table ; had dined on 
horse-flesh and turtle with equal relish and appetite; and had an old 
mother, Mrs. O'Dowd of O'Dowdstown indeed, whom he had never dis- 
obeyed but when he ran away and enlisted, and when he persisted in 
marrying that odious Peggy Malony. 

Peggy was one of five sisters, and eleven children of the noble house 
of Glenmalony; but her husband, though her own cousin, was of the 
mother's side, and so had not the inestimable advantage of being allied to 
the Malonies, whom she believed to be the most famous family in the 
world. Having tried nine seasons at Dublin and two at Bath and Chel- 
tenham, and not finding a partner for life, Miss Malony ordered her 
cousin Mick to marry her when she was about thirty-three years of age ; 
and the honest fellow obeying, carried her off to the West Indies to preside 
over the ladies of the — th regiment, into which he had just exchanged. 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 235 



Before Mrs. O'Dowd was half an hour in Amelia's (or indeed in anybody 
else's) company, this amiable lady told all her birth and pedigree to her 
new friend. "My dear," said she, good-naturedly, "it was my intention 
that Garge should be a brother of my own, and my sister Glorvina woidd 
have suited him entirely. But as bygones are bygones, and he was 
engaged to yourself, why, I 'm determined to take you as a sister instead, 
and to look upon you as such, and to love you as one of the family. 
Faith, you 've got such a nice good-natured face and way widg you, that 
I 'm sure we '11 agree ; and that you '11 be an addition to our family any- 
way." 

" 'Deed and she will," said O'Dowd with an approving air, and Amelia 
felt herself not a little amused and grateful to be thus suddenlv introduced 
to so large a party of relations. 

" We 're all good fellows here," the Major's lady continued. " There's 
not a regiment in the service where you '11 find a more united society nor 
a more agreeable mess-room. There 's no quarrelling, bickering, sland- 
thering, nor small talk amongst us. "We all love each other." 

" Especially Mrs. Magenis," said George, laughing. 

" Mrs. Captain Magenis and me has made up, though her treatment of 
me would bring me gray hairs with sorrow to the grave," 

"And you with such a beautiful front of black, Peggy my dear," the 
Major cried. 

" Hould your tongue, Mick, you booby. Them husbands are always in 
the way, Mrs. Osborne, my dear ; and as for my Mick, I often tell him he 
should never open his mouth but to give the word of command, or to put 
meat and drink into it. I '11 tell you about the regiment, and warn you 
when we 're alone. Introduce me to your brother now ; sure he 's a mighty 
fine man, and reminds me of me cousin Dan Malony (Malony of Ballyma- 
lony, my dear, you know, who mar'ied Ophaba Scully, of Oystherstown, 
own cousin to Lord Poldoody). Mr. Sedley, Sir, I 'm deloighted to be 
made known te ye. I suppose you '11 dine at the mess to-day. (Mind 
that diwle of a docther, Mick, and whatever ye du, keep yourself sober for 
me party this evening.) 

"It's the 150th gives us a farewell dinner, my love," interposed the 
Major, " but we '11 easy get a card for Mr. Sedley." 

"Bun Simple (Ensign Simple, of Ours, my dear Amelia. I forgot to 
introjuice him to ye.) Bun in a hurry, with Mrs, Major O'Powd's 
compbments to Colonel Tavish, and Captain Osborne has brought his 
brothernlaw down, and will bring him to the 150th mess at five o'clock 
sharp — when you and I, my dear, will take a snack here, if you Hke." 
Before Mrs. O'Dowd' s speech was concluded, the young Ensign was 
trotting down stairs on his commission. 

" Obedience is the soul of the army. We will go to our duty while 
Mrs. O'Dowd will stay and enbghten you, Emmy," Captain Osborne said ; 
and the two Captains, taking each a wing of the Major, walked out with 
that officer, grinning at each other over Ms head. 

And, now having her new friend to herself, the impetuous Mrs. O'Dowd 
proceeded to pom out such a quantity of information as no poor bttle 
woman's memory could ever tax itself to bear. She told Ameba a thousand 



236 VANITY PAIR. 



particulars relative to the very numerous family of which the amazed 
young lady found herself a member. " Mrs. Heavytop, the Colonel's 
Avife, died in Jamaica of the yellow faver and a broken heart comboined, 
for the horrud old Colonel, with a head as bald as a cannon-ball, was 
making sheep's eyes at a half-caste girl there, Mrs. Magenis, though 
without education, was a good woman, but she had the divvle's tongue, 
and would cheat her own mother at whist. Mrs. Captain Kirk must 
turn up her lobster eyes forsooth at the idea of an honest round game, 
(wherein me fawther, as pious a man as ever went to church, me uncle 
Dane Malony, and our cousin the Bishop, took a hand at loo, or whist, 
every night of their lives). Nayther of 'em's goin with the regiment this 
time," Mrs. O'Dowd added. "Fanny Magenis stops with her mother, who 
sells small coal and potatoes, most likely, in Islington-town, hard by 
London, though she 's always bragging of her father's ships, and pointing 
them out to us as they go up the river : and Mrs Kirk and her children 
will stop here in Bethesda Place, to be nigh to her favourite preacher, 
Dr. Ramshorn. Mrs. Bunny 's in an interesting situation — faith, and sbe 
always is, then — and has given the Lieutenant seven already. And 
Ensign Posky's wife, who joined two months before you, my dear, has 
quarl'd with Tom Posky a score of times, till you can hear 'em all over 
the bar'ck, (they say they're come to broken pleets, and Tom never 
accounted for his black oi,) and she'll go back to her mother, who keeps a 
ladies' siminary at Richmond, — bad luck to her for running away from it ! 
Where did ye get your finishing, my dear ? I had moin, and no expince 
spared, at Madame Flanagan's, at Ilyssus Grove, Booterstown, near 
Dubhn, wid a Marchioness to teach us the true Parisian pronunciation, 
and a retired Major-General of the French service to put us through the 
exercise," 

Of this incongruous family our astonished Amelia found herself all of 
a sudden a member : with Mrs. O'Dowd as an elder sister. She was pre- 
sented to her other female relations at tea-time, on whom, as she was 
quiet, good-natured, and not too handsome, she made rather an agreeable 
impression until the arrival of the gentlemen from the mess of the 150th, 
who all admired her so, that her sisters began, of course, to find fault 
with her. 

" I hope Osborne has sown his wild oats," said Mrs. Magenis to Mrs. 
Bunny. " If a reformed rake makes a good husband, sure it 's she will 
have the fine chance with Garge," Mrs. O'Dowd, remarked to Posky, who 
had lost her position as bride in the regiment, and was quite angry with 
the usurper. And, as for Mrs. Kirk ; the disciple of Dr. Bamshorn put 
one or two leading professional questions to Amelia, to see whether she was 
awakened, whether she was a professing Christian and so forth, and finding 
from the simplicity of Mrs. Osborne's replies that she was yet in utter 
darkness, put into her hands three Uttle penny books with pictures, viz. the 
" Howling Wilderness," the " Washerwoman of Wandsworth Common," 
and the "British Soldier's best Bayonet," which, bent upon awakening 
her before she slept, Mrs. Kirk begged Amelia to read that night ere she 
went to bed. 

But all the men, like good fellows as they were, rallied round their 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 237 

comrade's pretty wife, and paid her their court with soldierly gallantry. 
She had a little triumph, which flushed her spirits and made her eyes 
sparkle, George was proud of her popularity, and pleased with the 
manner (which was very gay and graceful though naive and a little timid) 
with which she received the gentlemen's attentions, and answered their 
compliments. And he in his uniform — how much handsomer he was than 
any man in the room ! She felt that he was affectionately watching her, 
and glowed with pleasure at his kindness. " I will make all his friends 
welcome," she resolved in her heart. " I will love all who love him. I 
will always try and be gay and good-humoured and make his home 
happy." 

The regiment indeed adopted her with acclamation. The Captains 
approved, the Lieutenants applauded, the Ensigns admired. Old Cutler 
the Doctor made one or two jokes, which, being professional, need not be 
repeated ; and Caclde, the Assistant M.D. of Edinburgh, condescended to 
examine her upon leeterature, and tried her with his three best French 
quotations. Young Stubble went about from man to man whispering, 
" Jove, isn't she a pretty gal?" and never took his eyes off her except 
when the negus came in. 

As for Captain Dobbin, he never so much as spoke to her during the 
whole evening. ' But he and Captain Porter of the 150th took home Jos 
to the hotel, who was in a- very maudlin state, and had told his tiger-hunt 
story with great effect, both at the mess-table ; and at the soiree, to Mrs. 
O'Dowd in her turban and bird of paradise. Having put the Collector 
into the hands of his servant, Dobbin loitered about, smoking his cigar 
before the inn door. George had meanwhile very carefully shawled his 
wife, and brought her away from Mrs. O'Dowd's after a general hand- 
shaking from the young officers, who accompanied her to the fly, and 
cheered that vehicle as it drove off. So Amelia gave Dobbin her little 
hand as she got out of the carriage, and rebuked him smilingly for not 
having taken any notice of her all night. 

The Captain continued that deleterious amusement of smoking, long 
after the inn and the street were gone to bed. He watched the lights 
vanish from George's sitting-room windows, and shine out in the bed- 
room close at hand. It was almost morning when he returned to his 
own quarters. He could hear the cheering from the ships in the river, 
where the transports were already taking in their cargoes preparatory to 
dropping down the Thames. 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 



IN WHICH AMELIA INVADES THE LOW COUNTRIES. 



■|HE regiment with its officers was 



to be transported in ships pro- 
vided by His Majesty's govern- 
ment for the occasion: and in two 
days after the festive assembly at 
Mrs. O'Dowd's apartments, in 
the midst of cheering from all the 
East India ships in the river, and 
the military on shore, the band 
playing ' God save the King,' the 
officers waving their hats, and 
the crews hurrahing gallantly, 
the transports went down the 
river and proceeded under con- 
voy to Ostend. Meanwhile the 
gallant Jos had agreed to escort 
his sister and the Major's wife, 
the bulk of whose goods and 
chattels, including the famous 
bird of paradise and turban, were 
with the regimental baggage : so 
that ovx two heroines drove 




pretty much unencumbered to Ramsgate, where there were plenty of 
packets plying, in one of which they had a speedy passage to Ostend. 

That period of Jos's life which now ensued was so full of incident, that 
it served him for conversation for many years after, and even the tiger- 
hunt story was put aside for more stirring narratives which he had to tell 
about the great campaign of Waterloo! As soon as he had agreed to 
escort his sister abroad, it was remarked that he ceased shaving his ripper 
lip. At Chatham he followed the parades and drills with great assiduity. 
He listened with the utmost attention to the conversation of his brother 
officers, (as he called them in after days sometimes,) and learned as many 
militarv names as he could. In these studies the excellent Mrs. O'Dowd 
was of great assistance to him ; and on the day finally when they embarked 
on board the Lovely Hose which was to carry them to their destination, he 
made his appearance in a braided frock-coat and duck trowsers, with a 
foraging cap ornamented with a smart gold band. Having his carriage 
with him, and informing everybody on board confidentially that he was 
going to join the Duke of Wellington's army, folks mistook him for a great 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 239 

personage, a commissary-general, or a government courier at the very 
least. 

He suffered hugely on the voyage, during which the ladies were likewise 
prostrate ; but Amelia was brought to life again as the packet made 
Ostend, by the sight of the transports conveying her regiment, which 
entered the harbour almost at the same time with the Lovely Rose. 
Jos went in a collapsed state to an inn, while Captain Dobbin escorted the 
ladies, aud then busied himself in freeing Jos's carriage and luggage from 
the ship and the customhouse, for Mr. Jos was at present without a ser- 
vant, Osborne's man and his own pampered menial having conspired 
together at Chatham, and refused point-blank to cross the water. This 
revolt, which came very suddenly, and on the last day, so alarmed Mr. 
Sedley, junior, that he was on the point of giving up the expedition, but 
Captain Dobbin (who made himself immensely officious in the business, 
Jos said), rated him and laughed at him soundly : the mustachios were 
grown in advance, and Jos finally was persuaded to embark. In place 
of the well-bred and well-fed London domestics, who could only speak 
English, Dobbin procured for Jos's party a swarthy little Belgian servant 
who coidd speak no language at all ; but who by his bustling behaviour, 
and by invariably addressing Mr. Sedley as " My lord/' speedily acquired 
that gentleman's favour. Times are altered at Ostend now ; of the Britons 
who go thither, very few look like lords, or act like those members of our 
hereditary aristocracy. They seem for the most part shabby in attire, 
dingy of linen, lovers of billiards and brandy, and cigars and greasy 
ordinaries. 

. But it may be said as a rule, that every Englishman in the Duke of 
Wellington's army paid his way. ■ The remembrance of such a fact 
surely becomes a nation of. shopkeepers. It was a blessing for a com- 
merce-loving country to be overrun by such an army of customers : and 
to have such creditable warriors to feed. And the country which they 
came to protect is not military. Eor a long period of history they have 
let other people fight there. When the present writer went to survey 
with eagle glance the field of Waterloo, we asked the conductor of the 
diligence, a portly warlike -looking veteran, whether he had been at the 
battle. "Pas si bete" — such an answer and sentiment as no Frenchman 
would own to — was his reply. But on the other hand, the postilion who 
drove us was a Viscomit, a son of some bankrupt Imperial General, who 
accepted a pennyworth of beer on the road. The moral is surely a 
good one. 

This flat, flourishing, easy country never coidd have looked more rich 
and prosperous, than in that opening summer of 1815, when its green 
fields and quiet cities were enlivened by multiplied red-coats : when its 
wide chaussees swarmed with brilhant English equipages : when its 
great canal-boats, gliding by rich pastures and pleasant quaint old vil- 
lages, by old chateaux lying amongst old trees, were all crowded with 
well-to-do English travellers : when the soldier who drank at the village 
inn, not only drank, but paid his score ; and Donald the Highlander,* 

* This incident is mentioned in Mr. Gleig's recently published <: Story of the 
Battle of Waterloo." 



240 



VANITY FAIR. 



billeted in the Flemish farm-house, rocked the baby's cradle, while Jean 
and Jeannette were out getting in the hay. As our painters are bent on 
military subjects just now, I throw out this as a good subject for the 
pencil, to illustrate the principle of an honest English war. All looked as 
brilliant and harmless as a Hyde Park review. Meanwhile, Napoleon 
screened behind his curtain of frontier-fortresses, was preparing for the 
outbreak which was to drive all these orderly people into fury and blood ; 
and lay so many of them low. 

Everybody had such a perfect feeling of confidence in the leader (for the 
resolute faith which the Duke of Wellington had inspired in the whole 
English nation was as intense, as that more frantic enthusiasm with which 
at one time the French regarded Napoleon), the country seemed in so per- 
fect a state of orderly defence, and the help at hand in case of need so near 
and overwhelming, that alarm was unknown, and that our travellers, among 
whom two were naturally of a very timid sort, were, like all the other multi- 
plied English tourists, entirely at ease. The famous regiment, with so 
many of whose officers Ave have made acquaintance, was drafted in canal- 
boats to Bruges and Ghent, thence to march to Brussels. Jos accompa- 
nied the ladies in the public boats ; the which all old travellers in Flanders 
must remember for the luxury and accommodation they afforded. So 
prodigiously good was the eating and drinking on board these sluggish 
but most comfortable vessels, that there are legends extant of an English 
traveller who coming to Belgium for a week, and travelling in one of these 
boats, was so delighted with the fare there that he went backwards and 
forwards from Ghent to Bruges perpetually until the railroads were 
invented, when he drowned himself on the last trip of the passage-boat. 
Jos's death was not to be of this sort, but his comfort was exceeding, and 
Mrs. O'Dowd insisted that he only wanted her sister Glorvina to make 
his happiness complete. He sate on the roof of the cabin all day 




A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 241 

drinking Flemish beer, shouting for Isidor his servant, and talking gal- 
lantly to the ladies. 

His courage was prodigious. " Boney attack us /" he cried. " My 
dear creature, my poor Emmy, don't be frightened. There 's no danger. 
The allies will be in Paris in two months, I tell you : when I'll take you 
to dine in the Palais Royal, by Jove. There are three hundred thousand 
Booshians, I tell you, now entering France by Mayence and the Ehine — 
three hundred thousand under Wittgenstein and Barclay de Tolly, my poor 
love. You don't know military affairs, my dear. I do, and I tell you 
there's no infantry in France can stand against Booshian infantry, and no 
general of Boney's that 's fit to hold a candle to Wittgenstein. Then 
there are the Austrians, they are five hundred thousand if a man, and 
they are within ten marches of the frontier by this time under Schwartzen- 
berg and Prince Charles. Then there are the Prooshians under the 
gallant Prince Marshal. Show me a cavalry chief like him now that 
Murat is gone. Hey, Mrs. O'Dowd ? Do you think our little girl here 
need be afraid. Is there any cause for fear, Isidor ? Hey, Sir ? Get 
some more beer." 

" Mrs. O'Dowd said that her Glorvina was not afraid of any man alive 
let alone a Frenchman," and tossed off a glass of beer with a wink which 
expressed her liking for the beverage. 

Having frequently been in presence of the enemy, or, in other words, 
faced the ladies at Cheltenham and Bath, our friend, the Collector, had 
lost a great deal of his pristine timidity, and was now, especially when 
fortified with liquor, as talkative as might be. He was rather a favourite 
with the regiment, treating the young officers with sumptuosity, and 
amusing them by his military airs. And as there is one well-known 
regiment of the army which travels with a goat heading the column, 
whilst another is led by a deer, George said with respect to his brother- 
in-law, that his regiment marched with an elephant. 

Since Amelia's introduction to the regiment, George began to be rather 
ashamed of some of the company to which he had been forced to present 
her ; and determined, as he told Dobbin (with what satisfaction to the 
latter it need not be said), to exchange into some, better regiment soon, 
and to get his wife away from these damned vulgar women. But this 
vulgarity of being ashamed of one's society is much more common among 
men than women ; (except very great ladies of fashion, who, to be sure, 
indulge in it;) and Mrs. Amelia, a natural and unaffected person, had 
none of that artificial shamefacedness which her husband mistook for deli- 
cacy on his own part. Thus Mrs. O'Dowd had a cock's plume in her hat, 
and a very large " repayther " on her stomach, which she used to ring on 
all occasions, narrating how it had been presented .to her by herfawther, as 
she stipt into the car'ge after her mar'ge ; and these ornaments, with 
other outward peculiarities of the Major's wife, gave excruciating agonies 
to Captain Osborne, when his wife and the Major's came in contact ; 
Avhereas Amelia was only amused .by the honest lady's eccentricities, and 
not in the least ashamed of her company. 

As they made that well-known journey, which almost every Englishman 
of middle rank has travelled since, there might have been more instructive, 

K 



242 VANITY FAIR. 



but few more entertaining companions than Mrs. Major O'Dowd. " Talk 
about kenal boats, my dear. Ye should see the kenal boats between 
Dublin and Ballinasloe. It 's there the rapid travelling is ; and the beau- 
tiful cattle. Sure me fawther got a goold medal (and his Excellency him- 
self eat a shce of it, and said never was finer mate in his loif) for a four- 
year -old heifer, the like of which ye never saw in this country any day." 
And Jos owned. with a sigh, "that for good streaky beef, really mingled 
with fat and lean, there was no country like England." 

"Except Ireland, where all your best mate comes from," said the 
Major's lady; proceeding, as is not unusual with patriots of her nation, 
to make comparisons greatly in favour of her own country. This idea of 
co mparing the market at Bruges with those of Dublin, although she had 
suggested it herself, caused immense scorn and derision on her part. 
I '11 thank ye to tell me what they mean by that old gazabo on the 
top of the market-place," said she, in a burst of ridicule fit to have 
brought the old tower down. The place was full of EngUsh soldiery as 
they passed. EngUsh bugles woke them in the . morning : at night-fall 
they went to bed to the note of the British fife and drum : all the country 
and Europe was in arms, and the greatest event of history pending ; and 
honest Peggy O'Dowd, whom it concerned as well as another, went on 
prattling about Ballinafad, and the. horses in the stables at Glenmalony, . 
and the clar't drunk there.; and Jos Sedley interposed about curry and 
rice at Dumdum ; and Amelia thought about her husband, and how best 
she should show, her love for him ; as if these were the great topics- of the 
world. 

Those who like to lay down the History-book, and to speculate upon 
what might have happened in the world, but for the fatal occurrence of 
what actually did take place (a most puzzhng, amusing, ingenious, and 
profitable kind of meditation) have no doubt often thought to themselves 
what a specially bad time Napoleon took to come back from Elba, and to 
let loose.his eagle from Gulf San Juan to Notre Dame. The historians on 
our side tell us that the armies of the allied powers were all providentially 
on a war-footing, and ready to bear down at a moment's notice upon the 
Elban Emperor. The august jobbers assembled at Vienna, and carving 
out the kingdoms of Europe according to their wisdom, had such causes 
of quarrel among, themselves as might have set the armies which had over- 
come Napoleon to fight against each other, .but for the return of the 
object of unanimous hatred and fear. This monarch had an army in full 
force because he had jobbed to himself Poland, and was determined to 
keep it : . another had robbed half Saxony, and was bent upon maintaining 
his acquisition : Italy was the object of a third's sobcitude. Each was 
protesting against the rapacity of the other ; and could the Corsican but 
have waited in his prison until all these parties were by the ears, he might 
have returned and reigned unmolested. But what would have become of 
our story and all our friends, then ? If all the drops in it were dried up, 
what would become of the sea ? . 

In the meanwhile the business of life and living and the pursuits of 
pleasure, especially, went on as if no end were to be expected to them, 




>/ 



'f//~z? sr/, //£?/ , s M*tf'd>? 






/' 



t&--6 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 243 



and no enemy in front. When our travellers arrived at Brussels, in which 
their regiment was quartered, a great piece of good fortune, as all said, 
they found themselves in one of the gayest and most brilliant little capitals 
in Europe, and where all the Vanity Pair booths were laid out with the 
most tempting liveliness and splendour. Gambling was here in profusion, 
and dancing in plenty : feasting was there to fill with delight that great 
gourmand of a Jos : there was a theatre where a miraculous Catalani was 
delighting all hearers; beautiful rides, all enlivened -with martial splendour ; 
a rare old city, with strange costumes and wonderful architecture, to 
delight the eyes of little Amelia, who had never before seen a foreign 
country, and fill her with charming surprises : so that now and for a few 
weeks' space, in a fine handsome lodging, whereof the expenses were borne 
by Jos and Osborne, who was flush of money and full of kind attentions to 
his wife — for about a fortnight I say, during which her honeymoon ended, 
Mrs. Amelia was as pleased and happy as any little bride out of England. 

Every day during this happy time there Avas novelty and amusement 
for all parties. There was a church to see, or a picture gallery — there 
was a ride, or an opera. The bands of the regiments were making music 
at all hours. The greatest folks of England walked in the Park — there 
was a perpetual military festival. George taking out his wife to a new 
jaunt or junket every night, was quite pleased with himself as usual, and 
swore he was becoming quite a domestic character. And a jaunt or a junket 
with him ! Was it n ot enough to set this little heart beating with j oy ? Her 
letters home to her mother were filled with=delight and gratitude at this 
season. Her husband bade her buy laces, millinery, jewels, and gimcracks 
of all sorts. Oh, he was the kindest, best, and most generous of men ! 

The sight of the very great company of lords and ladies and fashionable 
persons w r ho thronged the town and appeared in every public place, filled 
George's truly British soul with intense delight. They flung off that 
happy frigidity and insolence of demeanour which occasionally characterises 
the great at home, and appearing in numberless public places, condescended 
to mingle with the rest of the company whom they met there. One night 
at a party given by the general of the division to which George's regiment 
belonged, he had the honour of dancing with Lady Blanche Thistlewood, 
Lord Bareacres' daughter ; he bustled for ices and refreshments for the 
two .noble ladies ; he pushed and squeezed for Lady Bareacres' carriage ; 
he bragged about the Countess when he got home, in a way which his 
own father could not have surpassed. He called upon the ladies the next 
day ; he rode* by their side in the Park; he asked their party to a great 
dinner at a restaurateur's, and was quite wild with exultation when they 
agreed to come. Old Bareacres, who had not much pride and a large 
appetite, w r ould go for a dinner anywhere. 

" I hope there will be no women besides our own party," Lady Bare- 
acres said, after reflecting upon the invitation which had been made, and 
accepted with too much precipitancy. 

" Gracious Heaven, Mamma — you don't suppose the man would bring 
his wife," shrieked Lady Blanche, who had been languishing in George's 
arms in the newly-imported waltz for hours the night before. "The 
" men are bearable, but their women — " 

u 2 



244 VANITY FA1K. 



" Wife, just married, dev'lish pretty woman, I near," the old Earl 
said. 

"Well, my dear Blanche," said the mother, "I suppose as Papa wants- 
to go, we must go : but we needn't know them in England, you know." 
And so, determined to cut their new acquaintance in Bond Street, these 
great folks 'went to eat his dinner at Brussels, and condescending to 
make him pay for their pleasure, showed their dignity by making his 
wife uncomfortable, and carefully excluding her from the conversation. 
This is a species of dignity in which the high-bred British female 
reigns supreme. To watch the behaviour of a fine lady to other and 
humbler women is a very good sport for a philosophical frequenter of 
Vanity Eair. 

This festival, on which honest George spent a great deal of money, was 
the very dismallest of all the entertainments which Amelia had in her 
honey-moon. She wrote the most piteous accounts of the feast home to 
her mamma : how the Countess of Bareacres would not answer when 
spoken to ; how Lady Blanche stared at her with her eye-glass ; and 
what a rage Captain Dobbin was in at their behaviour ; and how my 
lord as they came away from the feast, asked to see the bill, and pro- 
nounced it a d — bad dinner, and d— dear. But though Amelia told all 
these stories, and wrote home regarding her guests' rudeness, arid her own 
discomfiture ; old Mrs. Sedley was mightily pleased nevertheless, and 
talked about Emmy's friend, the Countess of Bareacres, with such assi- 
duity that the news how his son was entertaining Peers and Peeresses 
actually came to Osborne's ears in the City. 

Those who know the present Lieutenant- General Sir George Tufto, 
K.C.B., and have seen him, as they may on most days in the season, 
padded and in stays, strutting down Pall- Mall with a ricketty swagger on 
his high-heeled lacquered boots, leering under the bonnets of passers by, 
or riding a showy chestnut, and ogling Broughams in the Parks — those 
who know the present Sir George Tufto would hardly recognise the 
daring Peninsula and Waterloo officer. He has thick curling brown hair 
and black eyebrows now, and his whiskers are of the deepest purple. He 
was light-haired and bald in 1815, and stouter in the person and in the 
limbs, which especially have shrunk veiy much of late. When he was 
about seventy years of age (he is now nearly eighty), his hair, which was 
very scarce and quite white, suddenly grew thick, and brown, and curly, 
and his whiskers and eyebrows took their present colour. Ill-natured 
people say that his chest is all wool, and that his hair, because it never grows, 
is a wig. Tom Tufto, with whose father he quarrelled ever so many years 
ago, declares that Mademoiselle de Jaisey, of the French theatre, pulled his 
grandpapa's hair off in the green-room ; but Tom is notoriously spiteful 
and jealous ; and the General's wig has nothing to do with our story. 

One day, as some of our friends of the — th were sauntering in the 
flower-market of Brussels, having been to see the Hotel de Ville, which 
Mrs. Major O'Dowd declared was not near so large or handsome as her 
fawther's mansion of Glenmalony, an officer of rank with an soldier behind 
himj rode up to the market, and descending from his horse, came amongst 
the flowers, and selected the very finest bouquet which money could buy. 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 245 

The beautiful bundle being tied up in a paper, the officer remounted, giving 
the nosegay into the charge of his military groom, who carried it with a 
grin, following his chief who rode away in great state and self-satis- 
faction. 

" You should see the flowers at Glenmalony," Mrs. O'Dowd was remark- 
ing. " Me fawther has three Scotch garners with nine helpers. We have 
an acre of hot -houses, and' pines as common as pays in the sayson. Our 
greeps weighs six pounds every bunch of 'em, and upon me honour and 
conscience I think our magnolias is as big as taykettles." 

Dobbin, who never used to ' draw out' Mrs. O'Dowd as that wicked 
Osborne delighted in doing, (much to Amelia's terror, who implored him 
to spare her,) fell back in the crowd, crowing and sputtering until he 
reached a safe distance, when he exploded amongst the astonished market- 
people with shrieks of yelling laughter. 

"Hwhat 's that gawky guggling about?" said Mrs. O'Dowd. "Is it his 
nose bleedn ? He always used to say 'twas his nose bleedn, till he must 
have pomped all the blood out of um. An't the magnolias at Glenmalony 
<is big as taykettles, O'Dowd?" 

" Deed then they are," and bigger, Peggy," the Major said. When the 
conversation was interrupted in the manner stated by the arrival of the 
officer who purchased the bouquet. 

" Devlish fine horse, — who is it?" George asked. 

" You should see me brother Molloy Moloney's horse, Molasses, that 
won the cop at the Curragh," the Major's wife was exclaiming, and was 
continuing the family history, when her husband interrupted her by 
saying — 

" It 's General Tufto, who commands the cavalry division ;" adding 

quietly, " he and I were both shot in the same leg at Talavera." 

" Where you got your step," said George with a laugh. " General Tufto ! 
Then my dear the Crawleys are come." 

Amelia's heart fell, — she knew not why. The sun did not seem to 
shine so bright. The tall old roofs and gables looked less picturesque all 
•of a sudden, though it was a brilliant sunset, and one of the brightest and 
most beautiful days at the end of May. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 




^n» 



BRUSSELS. 

B. JOS had hired a pair of horses for 
Ms open carriage, with which cattle, 
and the smart London vehicle, he 
made a very tolerable figure in the 
drives about Brussels. George 
purchased a horse for his private 
riding, and he and Captain Dobbin 
would often accompany the carriage 
in which Jos and his sister took 
daily excursions of pleasure. They 
went out that day in the park for 
their accustomed diversion, and 
there, sure enough, George's re- 
mark with regard to the arrival of 
Bawdon Crawley and his wife 
proved to be correct. In the midst 
of a little troop of horsemen, con- 
sisting of some of the very greatest persons in Brussels, Bebecca was seen 
in the prettiest and tightest of riding-habits, mounted on a beautiful little 
Arab, which she rode to perfection (having acquired the art at Queen's 
Crawley, where the Baronet, Mr. Pitt, and Eawdon himself had given her 
many lessons), and by the side of the gallant General Tufto. 

" Sure, it 's the Juke himself," cried Mrs. Major O'Dowd to Jos, who 
began to blush violently ; " and that 's Lord "Oxbridge on the bay. How 
elegant he looks ! Me brother, Molloy Moloney, is as like him as two peas." 
Bebecca did not make for the carriage ; but as soon as she perceived 
her old acquaintance Amelia seated in it, acknowledged her presence by a 
gracious word and smile, and by kissing and shaking her fingers playfully 
in the direction of the vehicle. Then she resumed her conversation with 
General Tufto, who asked " who the fat officer was in the gold-laced cap?" 
on which Becky replied, " that he was an officer in the East Indian ser- 
vice." But Bawdon Crawley rode out of the ranks of his company, and 
came up and shook hands heartily with Amelia, and said to Jos, " Well, 
old boy, how are you ? " and stared in Mrs. O'Dowd's face and black cock's 
feathers until she began to think she had made a conquest of him. 

George, who had been delayed behind, rode up almost immediately 
with Dobbin, and they touched their caps to the august personages, among 
whom Osborne at once perceived Mrs. Crawley. He was delighted to see 
Bawdon leaning over his carriage familiarly and talking to Amelia, and 
met the aide-de-camp's cordial greeting with more than corresponding 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEKO. 247 



warmth. The nods between Rawdon and Dobbin were of the very faintest 
specimens of politeness. 

Crawley told George where they were stopping with General Tufto at 
the Hotel dn Pare, and George made his friend promise to come speedily 
to Osborne's own residence. " Sorry I hadn't seen you three days ago," 
George said. " Had a dinner at the Restaurateur's — rather a nice thing. 
Lord Bareacres, and the Countess, and Lady Blanche, were good enough 
to dine with us — wish we 'd had you." Having thus let his friend know 
his claims to be a man of fashion, Osborne parted from Bawdon, who 
followed the august squadron down an alley into which they cantered, 
while George and Dobbin resumed their places, one on each side of 
Amelia's carnage. 

"How well the Juke looked," Mrs. O'Dowd remarked. "The Wel- 
lesleys and Maloneys are related ; but, of course, poor I would never 
dream of introjuicing myself unless his Grace thought proper to remember 
our family-tie." 

" He 's a great soldier," Jos said, much more at ease now the great 
man was gone. "Was there ever a battle won like Salamanca? Hey, 
Dobbin ? But where was it he learnt his art ? In India, my boy ! The 
jungle's the school for a general, mark me that. I knew him myselft, 
too, Mrs. O'Dowd : we both of us danced the same evening with Miss 
Cutler, daughter of Cutler of the Artillery, and a devilish fine girl, at 
Dumdum." 

The apparition of the great personages held them all in talk during the 
drive ; and at dinner ; and until the hour came when they were all to go 
to the Opera. 

It was almost like Old England. . The house was filled with familiar 
British faces, and those toilettes for which the British female has long 
been celebrated. Mrs. O'Dowd's was not the least splendid amongst 
these, and she had a curl on her forehead, and a set of Irish diamonds and 
Cairngorms, which outshone all the decorations in the house, in her 
notion. Her presence used to excruciate Osborne ; but go she would 
upon all parties of pleasure on which she heard her young friends were 
bent. It never entered into her thought but that they must be charmed 
of her company. 

" She 's been useful to you, my dear," George said to his wife, whom 
he could leave alone with less scruple when she had this company. " But 
what a comfort it is that Rebecca's come : you will have her for a friend, 
and we may get rid now of this damn'd Irishwoman." To this* Amelia 
did not answer, yes or no: and how do we know what her thoughts 
were ? 

The coup (Fceil of the Brussels opera-house did not strike Mrs. O'Dowd 
as being so fine as the theatre in Bishamble Street, DubHn, nor was 
French music at all equal in her opinion to the melodies of her native 
country. She favoured her friends with these and other opinions in a 
very loud tone of voice, and tossed about a great clattering fan she 
sported, with the most splendid complacency. 

"Who is that wonderful woman with Amelia, Rawdon, love?" said a 
lady in an opposite box (who, almost always civil to her husband in 



248 



VANITY FAIR. 



private, was more fond than ever of him in company). " Don't you see 
that creature with a yellow thing in her turban, and a red satin gown, 
and a great watch?" 




"Near the pretty little woman in white?" asked a middle-aged gen- 
tleman seated by the querist's side, with orders in his button, and several 
under-waistcoats, and a great, choky, white stock. 

" That pretty woman in white is Amelia, General : you are remarking 
all the pretty women, you naughty man." 

" Only one, begad, in the warld !" said the General, delighted, and the 
lady gave him a tap with a large bouquet which she had. 

"Bedad it's him," said Mrs. O'Dowd; " and that's the very bokay he 
bought in the Marshy aux Flures !" and when Eebecca, having caught 
her friend's eye, performed the little hand-kissing operation once more, 
Mrs. Major O'D., taking the compliment to herself, returned the salute 
with a gracious smile, which sent that unfortunate Dobbin shrieking out 
of the box again. 

At the end of the act, George was out of the box in a moment, and he 
was even going to pay his respects to Eebecca in her loge. He met 
Crawley in the lobby, however, where they exchanged a few sentences 
upon the occurrences of the last fortnight. 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 249 

" You found my cheque all right at the agent's ? " George said, with a 
knowing air. 

" All right, my boy," Eawdon answered. "Happy to give you your 
revenge. Governor come round? " 

" Not yet," said George, " but he will ; and you know I 've some pri- 
vate fortune through my mother. Has Aunty relented ? " 

" Sent me twenty pound, damned old screw. "When shall we have a 
meet ? The General dines out on Tuesday. Can 't you come Tuesday ? 
I say, make Sedley cut oft' his moustache. What the devil does a civilian 
mean with a moustache and those infernal frogs to his coat. By-bye.' Try 
and come on Tuesday ; " and Eawdon was going off with two brilbant 
young gentlemen of fashion, who were, like himself, on the staff of a 
general officer. 

George was only half pleased to be asked to dinner on that particular 
day when the General was not to dine. " I will go in and pay my respects 
to your wife," said he; at which Eawdon said, "Hm, as you please," 
looking very* glum, and at which the two young officers exchanged know- 
ing glances. George parted from them, and strutted down the lobby to 
the General's box, the number of which he had carefully counted. 

" Entrez" said a clear little voice, and our friend found himself in 
Rebecca's presence • who jumped up, clapped her hands together, and held 
out both of them to George, so charmed was she to see him. The 
General, with the orders in his button, stared at the new comer with a 
sulky scowl, as much as to say, who the devil are you ? 

" My dear Captain George ! " cried little Eebecca in an ecstacy. --How 
good of you to come. The General and I were moping together tete-a-tete. 
General, this is my Captain George of whom you heard me talk." 

" Indeed," said the General, with a very small bow, " of what regiment 
is Captain George ? " 

George mentioned the — th : how he wished he could have said it was 
a crack cavalry corps. 

" Come home lately from the West Indies, I believe. Not seen much 
service in the late war. Quartered here, Captain George? " — the General 
went on with killing: haughtiness. 

" Not Captain George, you stupid man ; Captain Osborne," Eebecca 
said. The General all the while was looking savagely from one to the 
other. 

-- Captain Osborne, indeed ! Any relation to the L — Osbornes ? " 

"We bear the same arms," George said, as indeed was the fact; Mr. 
Osborne having consulted with a herald in Long Acre, and picked the L — 
arms out of the peerage, when he set up his carriage fifteen years before. 
The General made no reply to this announcement ; but took up his opera- 
glass — the double-barrelled lorgnon was not invented in those days — and 
pretended to examine the house ; but Eebecca saw that his disengaged 
eye was working round in her direction, and shooting out blood-shot 
glances at her and George. 

She redoubled in cordiality. " How is dearest Amelia? But I needn't 
ask : how pretty she looks ! And who is that nice good-natured looking 
creature with her — a flame of yours ? 0, you wicked men ! And there 



250 VANITY PAIR. 



is Mr. Sedley eating ices, I declare : bow he seems to enjoy it ! General, 
why have we not had any ices P" 

"Shall I go and fetch you some?" said the General, bursting with 
wrath. 

"Let vie go, I entreat you," George said. 

" No, I will go to Amelia's box. Dear, sweet girl ! Give me your arm, 
Captain George;" and so saying, and with a nod to the General, she 
tripped into the lobby. She gave George the queerest, knowingest look, 
when they were together, a look which might have been interpreted, 
"Don't you see the state of affairs, and what a fool I 'm making of him?" 
But he did not perceive it. He was thinking of his own plans, and lost 
in pompous admiration of his own irresistible powers of pleasing. 

The curses to which the General gave a low utterance, as soon as 
Bebecea and her conqueror had quitted him, were so deep, that I am sure 
no compositor in Messrs. Bradbury and Evans's establishment would 
venture to print them were they written down. They came from the 
General's heart ; and a wonderful thing it is to think that the human heart 
is capable of generating such produce, and can throw out, as- occasion 
demands, such a supply of lust and fury, rage and hatred. 

Amelia's gentle eyes, too, had been fixed anxiously on the pair, whose 
conduct had so chafed the jealous General ; but when Bebeeca entered her 
box, she flew to her friend with an affectionate rapture which showed itself, 
in spite of the publicity of the place ; for she embraced her dearest friend 
in the presence of the whole house, at least in full view of the General's 
glass, now brought to bear upon the Osborne party. Mrs. Bawdon 
saluted Jos, too, with the kindliest greeting : she admired Mrs. O'Dowd's 
large Cairngorm brooch and superb Irish diamonds, and wouldn't believe 
that they were not from Golconda direct. She bustled, she chattered, she 
turned and twisted, and smiled upon one, and smirked on another, all in 
full view of the jealous opera-glass opposite. And when the time for the 
ballet came (in which there was no dancer that went through her grimaces 
or performed her comedy of action better), she skipped back to her own 
box, leaning on Captain Dobbin's arm this time. No, she would not have 
George's : he must stay and talk to his dearest, best, little Amelia. 

"What a humbug that woman is," honest old Dobbin mumbled to 
George, when he came back from Bebecca's box, whither he had conducted 
her in perfect silence, and with a countenance as glum as an undertaker's. 
" She writhes and twists about like a snake.. All the time she was here, 
didn't you see, George, how she was acting at the General over the way ?" 

"Humbug — acting? Hang it, she 's the nicest little woman in Eng- 
land," George replied, showing his white teeth, and giving his ambrosial 
whiskers a twirl. "You ain't a man of the world, Dobbin. Dammy, 
look at her now, she 's talked over Tufto in no time. Look how he 's 
laughing ! Gad, what a shoulder she has ! Emmy, why didn't you have 
a bouquet ? Everybody has a bouquet." 

"Faith, then, why didn't you boy one?" Mrs. O'Dowd said; and both 
Amelia and William Dobbin thanked her for this timely observation. But 
beyond this neither of the ladies rallied. Ameba was overpowered by the 
flash and. the dazzle and the fashionable talk of her worldly rival. Even 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 251 

the O'Dowd was silent and subdued after Becky's brilliant apparition, 
and scarcely said a word more about Glenmalony all the evening. 

" "When do you intend to give up play, George, as you have promised me 
any time these hundred years?" Dobbin said to his friend a few days after 
the night at the Opera. " When do you intend to give up sermonising ? " 
was the other's reply. " What the deuce, man, are you alarmed about ? 
We play low ; I won last night. You don't suppose Crawley cheats ? 
With fair play it comes to pretty much the same thing at the year's end." 

"But I don't think he could pay if he lost," Dobbin said; and his 
advice met with the success which advice usually commands. Osborne 
and Crawley were repeatedly together now. General Tufto dined abroad 
almost constantly. George was always welcome in the apartments (very 
close indeed to those of the General), which the Aide-de-camp and his 
wife occupied in the hotel. 

Amelia's - manners were such when she and George visited Crawley and 
his wife at these quarters, that they had very nearly come to their first 
quarrel -, that is, George scolded his wife violently for her evident unwil- 
lingness to go, and the high and mighty manner in which she comported 
herself towards Mrs. Crawley, her old friend ; and Amelia did not say one 
single word in reply ; but with her husband's eye upon her, and Rebecca 
scanning her as she felt, was, if possible, more bashful and awkward on 
the second visit which she paid to Mrs. Rawdon, than on her first call. 

Rebecca was doubly affectionate, of course, and would not take notice, 
in the least, of her friend's coolness. " I think Emmy has become prouder 
since her father's name was in the — , since Mr. Sedley's misfortanes," 
Rebecca said, softening the phrase charitably for George's ear. 

"Upon my word, I thought when we were at Brighton she was doing 
me the honour to be jealous of me ; and now I suppose she is scandalised 
because Rawdon, and I, and the General live together. Why, my dear 
creature, how could we, with our means, bve at all, but for a friend to 
share expenses ? And do you suppose that Rawdon is not lug enough to 
take care of my honour ? But I 'm very much obliged to Emmy, very," 
Mrs. Rawdon, said. 
. "Pooh, jealousy I " answered George, " all women are jealous." 

"And all men too. Weren't you jealous of General Tufto, and the 
General of you, on the night of the Opera ? Why, he was ready to eat 
me for going with vou to visit that foolish little wife of vour's ; as if I 
care a pin for either of you," Crawley's wife said, with a pert toss of her 
head. "Will you dine here? The dragon dines with the Commander- 
in-Chief. Great news is stirring. They say the French have crossed the 
frontier. We shall have a quiet dinner." 

George accepted the invitation, although his wife was a little ailing. 
They were now not quite six weeks married. Another woman was laugh- 
ing or sneering at her expense, and he not angry. He was not even 
angry with himself, this good-natured fellow. It is a shame, he owned to 
himself; but hang it, if a pretty woman icill throw herself into your way, 
why, what can a fellow do, you know ? I am rather free about women, 



252 VANITY FAIR. 



he had often said, smiling and nodding knowingly to Stubble and Spooney, 
and other, comrades of the mess-table; and they rather respected him than 
otherwise for this prowess. Next to conquering in war, conquering in 
love has been a source of pride, time out of mind, amongst men in Vanity 
[Fair, or how should school-boys brag of their amours, or Don Juan be 
popular ? 

So Mr. Osborne, having a firm conviction in his own mind that he 
was a woman-killer and destined to conquer, did not run counter to his 
fate, but yielded himself up to it quite complacently. And as Emmy did 
not say much or plague him with her jealousy, but merely became un- 
happy and pined over it miserably in secret, he chose to fancy that she 
was not suspicious of what all his acquaintance were perfectly aware — 
namely, that he was carrying on a desperate flirtation with Mrs. Crawley. 
He rode with her whenever she was free. He pretended regimental busi- 
ness to Amelia, (by which falsehood she was not in the least deceived) 
and consigning his wife to solitude or her brother's society, passed his 
evenings in the Crawley's company ; losing money to the husband and 
flattering himself that the wife was dying in love for him. It is very 
likely that this worthy couple never absolutely conspired, and agreed 
together in so many words : the one to cajole the young gentleman, 
whilst the other won his money at cards : but they understood each other 
perfectly well, and Eawdon let Osborne come and go with entire good 
humour. 

George was so occupied with his new acquaintances that he and 
William Dobbin were by no means so much together as formerly. George 
avoided him in public and in the regiment, and, as we see, did not like 
those sermons which his senior was disposed to inflict upon him. If 
some parts of his conduct made Captain Dobbin exceedingly grave and 
cool ; of what use was it to tell George that though his whiskers were 
large, and his own opinion of his knowingness great, he was as green as 
a schoolboy ? that Eawdon was making a victim of him as he had done 
of many befo»e, and as soon as he had used him would fling him off with 
scorn ? He woidd not listen : and so, as Dobbin upon those days when 
he visited the Osborne house, seldom had the advantage of meeting his 
old friend, much painful and unavailing talk between them was spared. 
Our friend George was in the full career of the pleasures of Vanity Pair. 

There never was, since the days of Darius, such a brilliant train of camp- 
followers as hung round the train of the Duke of "Wellington's army in 
the Low Countries, in 1815 ; and led it dancing and feasting, as it were, 
up to the very brink of battle. A certain ball which a noble Duchess gave 
at Brussels on the 15th of June in the above-named year is historical. All 
Brussels had been in a state of excitement about it, and I have heard 
from ladies who were in that town at the period, that the talk and interest 
of persons of their own sex regarding the ball was much greater even 
than in respect of the enemy in their front. The struggles, intrigues, and 
prayers to get tickets were such as only English ladies will employ, in 
order to gain admission to the society of the great of their own nation. 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 253 

Jos and Mrs. O'Dowd, who were panting to be asked, strove in vain to 
procure tickets ; but others of our friends were more lucky. For instance, 
through the interest of my Lord Bareacres, and as a set-off for the dinner 
at the restaurateur's, George got a card for Captain and Mrs. Osborne ; 
which circumstance greatly elated him. Dobbin, who was a friend of the 
General commanding the division in which then* regiment was, came 
laughing one day to Mrs. Osborne, and displayed a similar invitation, 
which made Jos envious, and George wonder how the deuce he should be 
getting into society. Mr. and Mrs. Eawdon, finally, were of course 
invited; as became the friends of a General commanding a cavalry 
brigade. 

On the appointed night, George, having commanded new dresses and 
ornaments of all sorts for Amelia, drove to the famous ball, where his 
wife did not know a single soul. After looking about for Lady Bareacres, 
who cut him, thinking the card was quite enough — and after placing 
Amelia on a bench, he left her to her own cogitations there, thinking, on 
his own part, that he had behaved very handsomely in getting her new 
clothes, and bringing her to the ball, where she was free to amuse herself 
as she liked. Her thoughts were not of the pleasantest, and nobody 
except honest Dobbin came to disturb them. 

Whilst her appearance was an utter failure (as her husband felt with a sort 
of rage), Mrs. Eawdon Crawley's debut was, on the contrary, very brilliant. 
She arrived very late. Her face was radiant: her dress perfection, in the 
midst of the great persons assembled, and the eye-glasses directed to her. 
Bebecca seemed to be as cool and collected as when she used to marshal 
Miss Pinkerton's little girls to church. Numbers of the men she knew 
already, and the dandies thronged round her. As for the ladies, it was 
whispered among them that Eawdon had run away with her from out of 
a convent, and that she was a relation of the Montmorency family. She 
spoke French so perfectly that there might be some truth in this report, 
and it was agreed that her manners were fine, and her air distingue. Fifty 
would-be partners thronged round her at once, and pressed to have the 
honour to dance with her. But she said she was engaged, and only going 
to dance very little ; and made her way at once to the place where Emmy 
sate quite unnoticed, and dismally unhappy. And so, to finish the poor 
child at once, Mrs. Eawdon ran and greeted affectionately her dearest 
Amelia, and began forthwith to patronise her. She found fault with her 
friend's dress, and her hair-dresser, and wondered how she could be so 
chausse'e, and vowed that she must send her corsetiere the next morning. 
She vowed that it was a debghtful ball ; that there was everybody that 
every one knew, and only a very few nobodies in the whole room. It is a 
fact, that in a fortnight, and after three dinners in general society, this 
young woman had got up the genteel jargon so well, that a native could 
not speak it better ; and it was only from her French being so good, that 
you could know she was not a born woman of fashion. 

George, who had left Emmy on her bench on entering the ball-room, 
very soon found his way back when Eebecca was by her dear friend's side. 
Becky was just lecturing Mrs. Osborne upon the follies which her husband 
was committing. "For God's sake, stop" him from gambling, my dear," 



254 VANITY PAIR. 



she said, " or he will ruin himself. He and Rawdon are playing at cards 
every night, and yon know he is very poor, and Rawdon will win every 
shilling from him if he does not take care. "Why don't you prevent him, 
you little careless creature ? Why don't you come to us of an evening, 
instead of moping at home with that Captain Dobbin ? I dare say he is 
trh-aimable ; but how could one love a man with feet of such size ? Your 
husband's feet are darlings — Here he comes. Where have you been, 
wretch ? Here is Emmy crying her eyes out for you. Are you coming to 
fetch me for the quadrille ?" And she left her bouquet and shawl by 
Amelia's side, and tripped off with George to dance. Women only know 
Iioav to wound so. There is a poison on the tips of their little shafts, which 
stings a thousand times more than a man's blunter weapon. Our poor 
Emmy, who had never hated, never sneered all her life, was powerless m 
the hands of her remorseless little enemy. 

George danced with Rebecca twice or thrice — how many times Amelia 
scarcely knew. She sate quite unnoticed in her comer, except when 
Rawdon came up with some words of clumsy conversation: and later in 
the evening, when Captain Dobbin made so bold as to bring her refresh- 
ments and sit beside her. He did not like to ask her why she was so sad; 
but as a pretext for the tears which were filling in her eyes, she told" him 
that Mrs. Crawley had alarmed her by telling her that George would go on 
playing. 

"It is curious, when a man is bent upon play, by what clumsy rogues 
he will allow himself to be cheated," Dobbin said ; and Emmy said, 
" Indeed." She was thinking of something else. It was not the loss of 
the money that grieved her. 

At last George came back for Rebecca's shawl and flowers. She was 
going away. She did not even condescend to come back and say good 
bye to Amelia. The poor girl let her husband come and go without saying 
a word, and her head fell on her breast. Dobbin had been called away, 
and was whispering deep in conversation with the general of the division, 
his friend, and had not seen this last parting. George went away then 
with the bouquet ; but Avhen he gave it to the owner, there lay a note, coiled 
like a snake among the flowers. Rebecca's eye caught it at once. She 
had been used to deal with notes in early life. She put out her hand and 
took the nosegay. He saw by her eyes as they met, that she was aware 
what she should find there. Her husband hurried her away, still too 
intent upon his own thoughts, seemingly, to take note of any marks of 
recognition which might pass between his friend and his wife. These 
were, however, but trifling. Rebecca gave George her hand with one of 
her usual quick knowing glances, and made a curtsey and walked away. 
George bowed over the hand, said nothing in reply to a remark of Crawley's, 
did not hear it even, his brain was so throbbing with triumph and excite- 
ment, and allowed them to go away without a word. 

His wife saw the one part at least of the bouquet-scene. It was quite 
natural that George should come at Rebecca's request to get her her scarf 
and flowers : it was no more than he had done twenty times before in the 
course of the last few days ; but now it was too much for her. " Wil- 
liam," she said, suddenly clinging to Dobbin, who was near her, " you've 




^''(/'W^' CateS&f jt/i/sM'?. /A'' <">&& 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 255 

always been very kind to me — I'm — I'm not well. Take me home." 
She did not know she called him by his Christian name, as George was 
accustomed to do. He went away with her quickly. Her lodgings were 
hard by ; and they threaded through the crowd without, where every- 
thing seemed to be more astir than even in the ball-room within. 

George had been angry twice or thrice at finding his wife up on his 
return from the parties which he frequented : so she went straight to bed 
now ; but although she did not sleep, and although the din and clatter, 
and the galloping of horsemen was incessant, she never heard any of 
these noises, having quite other disturbances to keep her awake. 

Osborne meanwhile, wild with elation, went off to a play-table, and 
began to bet frantically. He won repeatedly. " Everything succeeds 
with me to-night," he said. But his luck at play even did not cure him 
of his restlessness, and he started up after awhile, pocketing his winnings, 
and went to a buffet, where he drank off many bumpers of wine. 

Here, as he was rattling away to the people around, laughing loudly 
and wild with spirits, Dobbin found him. He had been to the card- 
tables to look there for his friend. Dobbin looked as pale and grave as 
his comrade was flushed and jovial. 

" Hullo, Dob ! Come and drink, old Dob ! The Duke's wine is famous. 
Give me some more, you Sir ;" and he held out a trembling glass for 
the liquor. 

" Come out, George," said Dobbin, still gravely; "don't drink." 

"Drink! there's nothing like it. Drink yourself, and light up your 
lantern jaws, old boy. Here's to you." 

Dobbin went up and whispered something to him, at which George, 
giving a start and a wild hurray, tossed off his glass, clapped it on the 
table, and walked away speedily on his friend's arm. " The enemy has 
passed the Sambre," "William said, " and our left is already engaged. 
Come away. "We are to march in three hours." 

Away went George, his nerves quivering with excitement at the news 
so long looked for, so sudden when it came. What were love and intrigue 
now ? He thought about a thousand things but these in his rapid walk 
to his quarters — his past bfe and future chances — the fate which might 
be before him — the wife, the child perhaps, from whom unseen he might 
be about to part. Oh, how he wished that night's work undone ! and 
that with a clear conscience at least he might say farewell to the tender 
and guileless being by whose love he had set such little store ! 

He thought over his brief married bfe. In those few weeks he had 
frightfully dissipated his little capital. How wild and reckless he had 
been ! Should any mischance befal him : what was then left for her ? 
How unworthy he was of her. "Why had he married her ? He was not 
fit for marriage. "Why had he disobeyed his father, who had been 
always so generous to him ? Hope, remorse, ambition, tenderness, and 
selfish regret filled his heart. He sate down and wrote to his father, 
remembering what he had said once before, when he was engaged to fight 
a duel. Dawn faintly streaked the sky as he closed this farewell letter. 
He sealed it, and kissed the superscription. He thought how he had 



256 YANITY FAIR. 



deserted that generous father, and of the thousand kindnesses which the 
stern old man had done him. 

He had looked into Amelia's bed-room when he entered ; she lay quiet, 
and her eyes seemed closed, and he was glad that she was asleep. On 
arriving at his quarters from the ball, he had found his regimental servant 
already making preparations for his departure : the man had understood 
his signal to be still, and these arrangements were very quickly and 
silently made. Should he go in and wake Amelia, he thought, or leave a 
note for her brother to break the news of departure to her ? He went in 
to look at her once again. 

She had been awake when he first entered her room, but had kept her 
eyes closed, so that even her wakefulness should not seem to reproach 
him. But when he had returned, so soon after herself, too, this timid little 
heart had felt more at ease, and turning towards him as he stept softly 
out of the room, she had fallen into a light sleep. George came in and 
looked at her again, entering still more softly. By the pale night-lamp he 
could sec her sweet, pale face — the purple eyelids were fringed and closed, 
and one round arm, smooth and white, lay outside of the coverlet. Good 
God ! how pure she was ; how gentle, how tender, and how friendless t 
and lie, how selfish, brutal, and black with crime ! Heart-stained, and 
shame-stricken, he stood at the bed's foot, and looked at the sleeping girl. 
How dared he — who was he, to pray for one so spotless ! God bless her ! 
God bless her ! He came to the bed-side, and looked at the hand, the 
little soft hand, lying asleep; and he bent over the pillow noiselessly 
towards the gentle pale face. 

Two fan- arms closed tenderly round his neck as he stooped down. 
"lam awake, George," the poor child said, with a sob fit to break the 
little heart that nestled so closely by his own. She was awake, poor soul, 
and to what ? At that moment a bugle from the Place of Arms began 
sounding cletrly, and was taken up through the town ; and amidst the 
drums of the infantry, and the shrill pipes of the Scotch, the whole city 
awoke. 



CHAPTER XXX. 



" THE GIRL I LEFT BEHIND ME." 




E do not claim to rank among the military 
novelists. Our place is with the non- 
combatants. When the decks are cleared 
for action we go below and wait meekly. 
We should only be in the way of the 
manoeuvres that the gallant fellows are 
performing over head. We shall go no 
farther with the — th than to the city gate : 
and leaving Major O'Dowd to his duty, 
come back to the Major's wife, and the 
ladies and the baggage. 

Now, the Major and Ms lady, who had 
not been invited to the ball at which in our 
last chapter other of our friends figured, 
had much more time to take their whole- 
some natural rest in bed, than was accorded 
to people who wished to enjoy pleasure as 
well as to do duty. " It's my bebef, Peggy, my dear," said he, as he pla- 
cidly pulled his night-cap over his ears, " that there will be such a ball 
danced in a day or two as some of 'em has never heard the chune of; " 
and he was much more happy to retire to rest after partaking of a quiet 
tumbler, than to figure at any other sort of amusement. Peggy, for her 
part, would have liked to have shown her turban and bird of paradise at 
the ball, but for the information which her husband had given her, and 
which made her veiy grave. 

" I'd like ye wake me about half an hour before the assembly beats," 
the Major said to his lady. " Call me at half-past one, Peggy, dear, and 
see me things is ready. May be I'll not come back to breakfast, Mrs. O'D." 
With which words, which signified his opinion that the regiment would 
march the next morning, the Major ceased talking, and fell asleep. 

Mrs. O'Dowd, the good housewife, arrayed in curl-papers and a camisole, 
felt that her duty was to act, and not to sleep, at this juncture. " Time 
enough for that," she said, " when Mick's gone ;" and so she packed his tra- 
velling-valise ready for the march, brushed his cloak, his cap, and other 
warlike habiliments, set them out in order for him ; and stowed away in the 
cloak-pockets a light package of portable refreshments, and a wicker- 
covered flask or pocket-pistol, containing near a pint of a remarkably 

s 



258 VANITY FAIR. 



sound Cognac brandy, of which, she and the Major approved very much, 
and as soon as the hands of the "repayther" pointed to half-past one, 
and its interior arrangements (it had a tone quite aqual to a cathaydral, 
its fan- owner considered) knelled forth that fatal hour, Mrs. O'Dowd woke 
up her Major, and had as comfortable a cup of coffee prepared for him as 
any made that morning in Brussels. And -who is there will deny that 
this worthy lady's preparations betokened affection as much as the fits 
of tears and hysterics by which more sensitive females exhibited their 
love, and that then* partaking of this coffee, which they drank together 
while the bugles were sounding the turn-out and the drums beating in the 
various quarters of the town, was not more useful and to the purpose than 
the outpouring of any mere sentiment could be ? The consequence was, 
that the Major appeared on parade quite trim, fresh, and alert, his well- 
shaved rosy countenance, as he sate on horseback, giving cheerfulness and 
confidence to the whole corps. All the officers saluted her when the 
regiment marched by the balcony on which this brave woman stood, and 
waved them a cheer as they passed ; and I daresay it was not from want 
of courage, but from a sense of female delicacy and propriety, that she 
refrained from leading the gallant — th personally into action. * 

On Sundays, and at periods of a solemn nature, Mrs. O'Dowd used to 
read with great gravity out of a large volume of her uncle the Dean's ser- 
mons. It had been of great comfort to her on board the transport as 
they were coming home, and were very nearly wrecked on their return 
from the West Indies. After the regiment's departure she betook herself 
to this volume for meditation ■ perhaps she did not understand much of 
what she was reading, and her thoughts were elsewhere : but the sleep 
project, with poor Mick's nightcap there on the pillow, was quite a vain 
one. So it is in the world. Jack or Donald marches away to glory with 
his knapsack on his shoulder, stepping out briskly to the tune of " The 
Gild I left behind me." It is she who remains and suffers, — and has 
the leisure to think, and brood, and remember. 

Knowing how useless regrets are, and how the indulgence of sentiment 
only serves to make people more miserable, Mrs. Rebecca wisely deter- 
mined to give way to no vain feelings of sorrow, and bore the parting 
from her husband with quite a Spartan equanimity. Indeed Captain 
Eawdon himself was much more affected at the leave-taking than the 
resolute little woman to whom he bade farewell. She had mastered this 
rnde coarse nature ■ and he loved and worshipped her with all his faculties 
of regard and admiration. In all his life he had never been so happy, as, 
during the past few months, Ms wife had made him. All former delights 
of turf, mess, hunting-field, and gambling-table ; all previous loves and 
courtships of milliners, opera-dancers, and the like easy triumphs of the 
clumsy military Adonis, were quite insipid when compared to the lawful 
matrimonial pleasures which of late he had enjoyed. She had known' 
perpetually how to divert him ; and he had found his house and her 
society a thousand times more pleasant than any place or company which 
he had ever frequented from his childhood until now. And he cursed his 
past follies and extravagances, and bemoaned his vast outlying debts above 



.--' 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 259 



all, which must remain for ever as obstacles to prevent his wife's advance- 
ment in the world. He had often groaned over these in midnight con- 
versations with Eebecca, although as a bachelor they had never given him 
any disquiet. He himself was struck with this phenomenon. " Hang it," 
he would say (or perhaps use a still stronger expression out of his simple 
vocabulary) " before I was married I didn't care what bills I put my name 
to, and so long as Moses would wait or Levy would renew for three 
months, I kept on never minding. But since I 'm married, except renew- 
ing of course, I give you my honour I 've not touched a bit of stamped 
paper." 

Eebeeca always knew how to conjure away these moods of melancholy. 
" Why, my stupid love," she would say, " we have not done with your 
aunt yet. If she fails us, isn't there what you call the Gazette ? or, stop, 
when your uncle Bute's life drops, I have another scheme. The living has 
always belonged to the younger brother, and why shouldn't you sell out 
and go into the Church?" The idea of this conversion set Saw don into 
roars of laughter : you might have heard the explosion through the hotel 
at midnight, and the haw-haws of the great dragoon's voice. General 
Tufto heard him from his quarters on the first floor below them ; and 
Eebecca acted the scene with great spirit^ and preached Eawdon's first 
sermon, to the immense delight of the General at breakfast. 

But these were mere by-gone days and talk. When the final news 
arrived that the campaign was opened, and the troops were to march, 
Eawdon's gravity became such that Becky rallied him about it in a manner 
winch rather hurt the feelings of the Guardsman. " You don't suppose 
I 'm afraid, Becky, I should think," he said, with a tremor in his voice. 
"But I'm a pretty good mark for a shot, and you see if it brings me 
down, why I leave one and perhaps two behind me whom I should wish to 
provide for, as I brought 'em into the scrape. It is no laughing matter 
that, Mrs. C, anyways." 

Eebecca by a hundred caresses and kind words tried to soothe the feel- 
ings of the wounded lover. It was only when her vivacity and sense of 
humour got the better of this sprightly creature (as they would do under 
most circumstances of life indeed,) that she would break out with her 
satire, but she could soon put on a demure face. " Dearest love," she 
said, "do you suppose I feel nothing?" and, hastily dashing something 
from her eyes, she looked up in her lmsband's face with a smile. 

"Look here," said he. " If I drop let us see what there is for you. 
I have had a pretty good run of luck here, and here 5 s two hundred and 
thirty pounds. I have got ten Napoleons in my pocket. That is as much 
as I shall want ; for the General pays everything like a prince ; and if 
I 'm hit, why you know I cost nothing. Don't cry, little woman; I may 
live to vex you yet. Well, I shan't take either of my horses, but shall 
ride the General's grey charger : it 's cheaper, and I told him mine was 
lame. If I 'm done, those two ought to fetch you something. Grigg 
offered ninety for the mare yesterday, before this confounded news came, 
and like a fool I wouldn't let her go under the two O's. Bulfinch.will 
feteh his price any day, only you 'd better sell him in this country, because 

s 2 



260 VANITY PAIK. 



the dealers have so many bills of mine, and so I 'd rather he shouldn 't go 
back to England. Your little mare the General gave you will fetch some- 
thing, and there 's no d — d livery stable bills here as there are in London," 
Kawdon added, with a laugh. " There 's that dressing-case cost me two 
hundred, — that is, I owe two for it ; and the gold tops and bottles must be 
worth thirty or forty. Please to put that up the spout, ma'am, with my 
pins, and rings, and watch and chain, and things. They cost a precious 
lot of money. Miss Crawley, I know, paid a hundred down for the chain 
and ticker. Gold tops and bottles, indeed ! dammy, I 'm sorry I didn't 
take more now. Edwards pressed on me a silver-gilt boot-jack, and I 
might have had a dressing-case fitted up with a silver warming-pan, and a 
service of plate. But we must make the best of what we 've got, Becky, 
you know." 

And so, making his last dispositions, Captain Crawley, who had seldom 
thought about anything but himself, until the last few months of his life, 
when Love had obtained the mastery over the dragoon, went through the 
various items of his little catalogue of effects, striving to see how they 
might be turned into money for his wife's benefit, in case any accident 
-should befal him. He pleased himself by noting down with a pencil, in 
his big school-boy handwriting, the various items of his portable property 
which might be sold for his widow's advantage — as for example, "My 
double-barril by Manton, say 40 guineas ; my driving cloak, lined with 
sable fur, £50; my duelling pistols in rosewood case, (same which I shot 
Captain Marker), £20 ; my regulation saddle-holsters and housings ; my 
Laurie ditto," and so forth, over all of which articles he made Kebecca the 
mistress. 

Eaithful to his plan of economy, the Captain dressed himself in his 
oldest and shabbiest uniform and epaulets, leaving the newest behind, 
under his wife's (or it might be his widow's) guardianship. And this 
famous dandy of Windsor and Hyde Park went off on his campaign with 
a kit as modest as that of a serjeant, and with something like a prayer on 
his lips for the woman he was leaving. He took her up from the ground, 
and held her in his arms for a minute, tight pressed against his strong- 
beating heart. His face was purple and his eyes dim, as he put her down 
and left her. He rode by his General's side, and smoked his cigar in 
silence as they hastened after the troops of the General's brigade, which 
preceded them ; and it was not until they were some miles on their way 
that he left off twirling his moustache and broke silence. 

And Kebecca, as we have said, wisely determined not to give way to 
•unavailing sentimentality on her husband's departure. She waved him an 
-adieu from the window, and stood there for a moment looking out after 
he was gone. The cathedral towers and the full gables of the quaint old 
houses were just beginning to blush in the sunrise. There had been no 
rest for her that night. She was still in her pretty ball-dress, her fair 
hair hanging somewhat out of curl on her neck, and the circles round her 
eyes dark with watching. " What a fright I seem," she said, examining 
herself in the glass, " and how pale this pink makes one look ! " So she 
divested herself of this pink raiment ; in doing which a note fell out from 






A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 



261 



her corsage, which she picked up with a smile, and locked into her dressing- 
box. And then she put her bouquet of the ball into a glass of water, and 
went to bed, and slept very comfortably. 



\ v \lliiM 



■•' : 




The town was quite quiet when she woke up at ten o'clock, and partook 
of coffee, very requisite and comfortable after the exhaustion and grief of 
the morning's occurrences. 

This meal over, she resumed honest Eawdon's calculations of the night 
previous, and surveyed her position. Should the worst befal, all things 
considered, she was pretty well to do. There were her own trinkets and 
trousseau, in addition to those which her husband had left behind. Eaw- 
don's generosity, when they were first married, has already been described 
and lauded. Besides these, and the little mare, the General, her slave and 
worshipper, had made her many very handsome presents in the shape of 
cashmere shawls bought at the auction of a bankrupt French general's lady, 
and numerous tributes from the jewellers' shops, all of which betokened her 
admirer's taste and wealth. As for "tickers," as poor Eawdon called watches, 
her apartments were alive with their clicking. Tor, happening to mention 
one night that hers, which Eawdon had given to her, was of English work- 
manship, and went ill, on the very next morning there came to her a little 
bijou marked Leroy, with a chain and cover charmingly set with turqtioises, 
and another signed Breguet, which was covered with pearls, and yet 
scarcely bigger than a half-crown. General Tufto had bought one, and 
Captain Osborne had gallantly presented the other. Mrs. Osborne had 
no watch, though, to do George justice, she might have had one for the 
asking, and the Honourable Mrs. Tufto in England had an old instrument 
of her mother's that might have served for the plate warming-pan which 
Eawdon talked about. If Messrs. Howell and James were to publish a 
list of the piuchasers of all the trinkets which they sell, how surprised 
would some families be ; and if all these ornaments went to gentlemen's 
lawful wives and daughters, what a profusion of jewellery there would be 
exhibited in the genteelest homes of Vanity Fair ! 

Every calculation made of these valuables Mrs. Eebecca found, not 



262 VANITY FAIR. 



without a pungent feeling of triumph and self-satisfaction, that should cir- 
cumstances occur, she might reckon on sis or seven hundred pounds at the 
very least, to begin the world with : and she passed the morning disposing, 
ordering, looking out, and locking up her properties in the most agreeable 
manner. Among the notes in Kawdon's pocket-book, was a draft for 
twenty pounds on Osborne's banker. This made her think about ]\Irs. 
Osborne. "I will go and get the draft cashed," she said, "and pay a 
visit afterwards to poor little Emmy." If this is a novel without a hero, 
at least let us lay claim to a heroine. No man in the British army which 
has marched away, not the great duke himself, coidd be more cool or col- 
lected in the presence of doubts and difficulties, than the indomitable little 
aide-de-camp's wife. 

And there was another of our acquaintances who was also to be left 
behind, a non-combatant, and whose emotions and behaviour we have 
therefore a right to know. This was our friend the ex-collector of 
Boggleywollah, whose rest was broken, like other people's, by the sound- 
ing of the bugles in the early morning. Being a great sleeper, and fond 
of his bed, it is possible he would have snoozed on until his usual hour of 
rising in the forenoon, in spite of all the drums, bugles, and bagpipes in 
the British army, but for an interruption, which did not come from George 
Osborne, who shared Jos's quarters with him, and was as usual occupied 
too much with his own affairs, or with grief at parting with his wife, to 
think of taking leave of his slumbering brother-in-law — it was not George, 
we say, who interposed between Jos Sedley and sleep, but Captain Dobbin, 
who came and roused him up, insisting on shaking hands with him before 
his departure. 

" Very kind of you," said Jos, yawning, and wishing the Captain at 
the deuce. 

" I — I didn't like to go off without saying good-bye, yon know," Dob- 
bin said in a very incoherent manner ; " because you know some of us 
mayn't come back again, and I like to see you all well and — and that sort 
of thing, you know." 

" What do you mean ? " Jos asked, rubbing his eyes. The Captain did 
not in the least hear him or look at the stout gentleman in the night-cap, 
about whom he professed to have such a tender interest. The hypocrite 
was looking and listening with all his might in the directidn of George's 
apartments, striding about the room, upsetting the chairs, beating the 
tattoo, biting his nails, and showing other signs of great inward emotion. 

Jos had always had rather a mean opinion of the Captain, and now 
began to think his courage was somewhat equivocal. " What is it I can 
do for you, Dobbin?" he said in a sarcastic tone. 

" I tell you what you can do," the Captain replied, coming up to the 
bed; " we march in a quarter of an hour, Sedley, and neither George nor 
I may ever come back. Mind you, you are not to stir from this town until 
you ascertain how things go. You are to stay here and watch over your 
sister, and comfort her, and see that no harm comes to her. If anything 
happens to George, remember she has no one but you in the world to look 
to. If it goes wrong with the army, you'll see her safe back to England ; 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 



and you will promise me on your word that you will never desert her. I 
know you won't : as far as money goes you were always free enough with 
that. Do you want any ? I mean, have you enough gold to take you 
back to England in case of a misfortune ?" 

" Sir," said Jos, majestically, " when I want money, I know where to 
ask for it. And as for my sister, you needn't tell me how I ought to 
behave to her." 

* You speak like a man of spirit, Jos," the other answered good- 
naturedly, " and I am glad that George can leave her in such good hands. 
So I may give him your word of honour, may I, that in case of extremity 
vou will stand bv her?" 

" Of course, of course," answered Mr. Jos, whose generosity in money 
matters Dobbin estimated quite correctly. 

" And you'll see her safe out of Brussels in the event of a defeat ?" 

*' A defeat ! D — it, Sir, it's impossible. Don't try and frighten me," the 
hero cried from his bed ; and Dobbin's mind was thus perfectly set at ease 
now that Jos had spoken out so resolutely respecting his conduct to his 
sister. '"At least," thought the Captain, "there will be a retreat secured 
for her in case the worst shovdd ensue." 

If Captain Dobbin expected to get any personal comfort and satisfac- 
tion from having one more view of Amelia before the regiment marched away, 
his selfishness was punished just as such odious egotism deserved to be. 
The door of Jos's bed-room opened into the sitting-room which was 
■common to the family party, and opposite this door was that of Amelia's 
chamber. The bugles had wakened everybody : there was no use in 
concealment now. George's servant was packing in this room : Osborne 
coming in and out of the contiguous bed-room, flinging to the man such 
articles as he thought fit to carry on the campaign. And presently 
Dobbin had the opportunity which his heart coveted, and he got sight of 
Amelia's face once more. But what a face it was ! So white, so wild 
and despair-stricken, that the remembrance of it haunted him afterwards 
like a crime, and the sight smote him with inexpressible pangs of longing 
and pity. 

She was wrapped in a white morning dress, her hah- falling on her 
shoulders, and her large eyes fixed and without light. By way of helping 
on the preparations for the departure, and showing that she too could be 
useful at a moment so critical, this poor soul had taken up a sash of 
George's from the drawers whereon it lay, and followed him to and fro 
with the sash in her hand, looking on mutely as his packing proceeded. 
She came out and stood, leaning at the wall, holding this sash against her 
bosom, from which the heavy net of crimson dropped like a large stain of 
blood. Our gentle-hearted Captain felt a guilty shock as he looked at 
her. " Good God," thought he, " and is it grief like this I dared to pry 
into ? " And there was no help : no means to soothe and comfort this 
helpless, speechless misery. He stood for a moment and looked at her, 
powerless and torn with pity, as a parent regards an infant in pain. 

At last, George took Emmy's hand, and led her back into the becl-room, 
from whence he came out alone. The parting had taken place in that 
anoment, and he was gone. 



264 VANITY FAIR. 



" Thank Heaven that is over," George thought, bounding down the stair, 
his sword under his arm, and as he ran swiftly to the alarm-ground, where 
the regiment was mustered, and whither trooped men and officers hurrying 
from their billets, his pulse was throbbing and his cheeks flushed : the 
great game of war was going to be played, and he one of the players. 
What a fierce excitement of doubt, hope, and pleasure ! What tremendous 
hazards of loss or gain ! What were all the games of chance he had ever 
played compared to this one ? Into all contests requiring athletic skill 
and courage, the young man, from his boyhood upwards, had flung him- 
self with all his might. The champion of his school and his regiment, 
the bravos of his companions had followed him everywhere; from the 
boys' cricket-match to the garrison-races, he had won a hundred of 
triumphs ; and wherever he went, women and men had admired and 
envied him. What qualities are there for which a man gets so speedy a 
return of applause, as those of bodily superiority, activity, and valour? 
Time out of mind strength and courage have been the theme of bards and 
romances ; and from the story of Troy down to to-day, poetry has always 
chosen a soldier for a hero. I wonder is it because men are cowards in 
heart that they admire bravery so much, and place military valour so far 
beyond every other quality for reward and worship ? 

So, at the sound of that stirring call to battle, George jumped away 
from the gentle arms in winch he had been dallying ; not without a feeling 
of shame (although his wife's hold on him had been but feeble), that he 
should have been detained there so long. The same feeling of eagerness 
and excitement was amongst all those friends of his of whom we have 
had occasional glimpses, from the stout senior Major, who led the regiment 
into action, to little Stubble, the Ensign, who was to bear its colours on 
that day. 

The sun was just rising as the march began — it was a gallant sight — 
the band led the column, playing the regimental march — then came the 
Major in command, riding upon Pyramus, his stout charger — then marched 
the grenadiers, their captain at their head ; in the centre were the colours,, 
borne by the senior and junior Ensigns — then George came marching at the 
head of his company. He looked up, and smiled at Amelia, and passed 
on ; and even the sound of the music died away. 



CHAPTER XXXI. 



IN WHICH JOS SEDLEY TAKES CARE OP HIS SISTER. 




usual hour of rising had arrived. 



| THUS all the superior officers being 
summoned on duty elsewhere, Jos Sed- 
ley was left in command of the little 
colony at Brussels, with Amelia inva- 
lided, Isidor his Belgian servant, and 
the bonne, who was maid-of-all-work 
for the establishment, as a garrison 
under him. Though he was disturbed 
in spirit, and his rest destroyed by 
Dobbin's interruption and the occur- 
rences of the morning, Jos nevertheless 
remained for many hours in bed, wake- 
ful and rolling about there until his 
The sun was high in the heavens, and 
our gallant friends of the — th miles on their march, before the civilian 
appeared in his flowered dressing-gown at breakfast. 

About George's absence, his brother-in-law was very easy in mind. 
Perhaps Jos was rather pleased in his heart that Osborne was gone, for 
during George's presence, the other had played but a very secondary part 
in the household, and Osborne did not scruple to show his contempt for 
the stout civilian. But Emmy had always been good and attentive to 
him.' It was she who ministered to his comforts, who superintended the- 
dishes that he liked, who walked -or rode with him (as she had many, too 
many, opportunities of doing, for where was George?) and who interposed 
her sweet kind face between his anger and her husband's scorn. Many 
timid remonstrances had she uttered to George in behalf of her brother. 
But the latter in his trenchant way cut these entreaties short. " I 'm an 
honest man," he said, " and if I have a feeling I show it, as an honest man 
will. How the deuce, my dear, would you have me behave respectfully 
to such a fool as your brother?" So Jos was pleased with George's 
absence. His plain hat, and gloves on a sideboard, and the idea that 
the owner was away, caused Jos I don't know what secret thrill of plea- 
sure. "He won't be troubling me this morning," Jos thought, "with his- 
dandified airs and his impudence." 

"Put the Captain's hat into the ante-room," he said, to Isidor the 
servant. 

"Perhaps he won't want it again," replied the lackey, looking know- 
ingly at his master. He hated George too, whose insolence towards him, 
was quite of the English sort. 



26G VANITY FAIR. 



" And ask if Madam is coming to breakfast," Mr. Sedley said with 
great majesty, ashamed to enter with a servant upon the subject of his 
dislike for George. The truth is, he had abused his brother to the valet 
a score of times before. 

Alas ! Madam could not come to breakfast, and cut the tartines that 
Mr. Jos liked. Madam was a great deal too ill, and had been in a 
frightful state ever since her husband's departure, so her bonne said. Jos 
showed his sympathy, by pouring her out a large cup of tea. It was his 
way of exhibiting kindness : and he improved on this ; he not only sent 
her breakfast, but he bethought Mm what delicacies she would most like 
for dinner. 

Isidor, the valet, had looked on very sulkily, while Osborne's 
servant was disposing of his master's baggage previous to the Captain's 
departure : for iu the first place he hated Mr. Osborne, whose conduct to 
him, and to all inferiors, was generally overbearing, (nor does the conti- 
nental domestic like to be treated with insolence as our own better-tempered 
servants do;) and secondly, he was angry that so many valuables should be 
removed from under his hands, to fall into other people's possession when 
the English discomfiture should arrive. Of this defeat he and a vast 
number of other persons in Brussels and Belgium did not make the 
slightest doubt. The almost universal belief was, that the Emperor would 
divide the Prussian and English armies, annihilate one after the other, and 
inarch into Brussels before three days were over ; when all the moveables 
of his present masters, who would be killed, or fugitives, or prisoners, 
would lawfully become the property of Monsieur Isidor. 

As he helped Jos through his toilsome and complicated daily toilette, 
this faithful servant would calculate what he should do with the very 
articles with which he was decorating his master's person. He would 
make a present of the silver essence-bottles and toilet knicknacks to a 
young lady of whom he was fond ; and keep the English cutlery and the 
large ruby pin for himself. It would look very smart upon one of the 
fine frilled shirts, which, with the gold-laced cap and the frogged frock 
coat, that might easily be cut down to suit his shape, and the Captain's 
gold-headed cane, and the great double ring with the rubies, which he 
would have made into a pair of beautiful earrings, he calculated would 
make a perfect Adonis of himself, and render Mademoiselle Beine an easy 
prey. " How those sleeve-buttons will suit me," thought he, as he fixed 
a pair on the fat pudgy wrists of Mi'. Sedley. I long for sleeve-buttons ; 
and the Captain's boots with brass spurs, in the next room, corbleio what an 
effect they will make in the Allce-Verte ! So while Monsieur Isidor with 
bodily fingers was holding on to his master's nose, and shaving the lower 
part of Jos's face, his imagination was rambling along the Green Avenue, 
dressed out in a frogged coat and lace, and in company with Mademoiselle 
Beine ; he was loitering in spirit on the banks, and examining the barges 
sailing slowly under the cool shadows of the trees by the canal, or refresh- 
ing himself with a mug of Earo at the bench of a beer-house on the road 
to Laeken. 

But Mr. Joseph Sedley, luckily for his own peace, no more knew what 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 



was passing in his domestic's mind than the respected reader and I suspect 
what John or Mary, whose wages we pay, think of ourselves. What our 
servants think of us ! — Did we know what our intimates and dear rela- 
tions thought of us, we should live in a world that we should be glad 
to quit, and in a frame of mind and a constant terror, that would be 
perfectly unbearable. So Jos's man was marking his victim down, as 
you see one of Mr. Paynter's assistants in Leadenhall- street ornament 
an unconscious turtle with a placard on which is written, " Soup 
to-morrow." 

Amelia's attendant was much less selfishly disposed. Few dependants 
could come near that kind and gentle creature without paying their usual 
tribute of lovaltv and affection to her sweet and affectionate nature. And 
it is a fact that Pauline, the cook, consoled her mistress more than any- 
body whom she saw on this wretched morning ; for when she found how 
Amelia remained for hours, silent, motionless, and haggard, by the win- 
dows in which she had placed herself to watch the last bayonets of the 
column as it marched away, the honest girl took the lady's hand, and said, 
Tenez, Madame, est-ce qu'il nest pas aussi a Varmee, mon homme a vim ? 
with which she burst into tears, and Amelia falling into her arms, did 
likewise, and so each pitied and soothed the other. 

Several times during the forenoon Mr. Jos's Isidor went from his lodg- 
iugs into the town, and to the gates of the hotels and lodging-houses 
round about the Pare, where the English were congregated, and there 
mingling with other valets, couriers, and lackeys, gathered such news as 
was abroad, and brought back bulletins for his master's information. 
Almost all these gentlemen were in heart partisans of the Emperor, and 
had their opinions about the speedy end of the campaign. The Emperor's 
proclamation from Avesnes had been distributed everywhere plentifully in 
Brussels. "Soldiers !'"' it said, "this is the anniversary of Marengo andFried- 
land, by which the destinies of Europe were twice decided. Then, as after 
Austerlitz, as after Wagram, we were too generous. We believed in the 
oaths and promises of princes whom we suffered to remain upon their 
thrones. Let us march once more to meet them. We and they, are we not 
still the same men ? Soldiers ! these same Prussians who are so arrogant 
to-dav, were three to one against vou at Jena, and six to one at Montmi- 
rail. Those among you who were prisoners in England can tell their 
comrades what frightful torments they suffered on board the English 
hulks. Madmen ! a moment of prosperity has blinded them, and if they 
enter into France it will be to find a grave there ! " But the partisans 
of the French prophesied a more speedy extermination of the Emperor's 
enemies than this ; and it was agreed on all hands that Prussians and 
British would never return except as prisoners in the rear of the conquer- 
ing armv. 

These opinions in the course of the day were brought to operate upon 
Mr. Sedley. He was told that the Duke of Wellington had gone to try 
and rally his army, the advance of which had been utterly crushed the 
night before. 



268 VANITY FAIR. 



" Crushed, psha!" said Jos, whose heart was pretty stout at breakfast- 
time. " The Duke has gone to beat the Emperor as he has beaten all his 
generals before." 

" His papers are burned, his effects are removed, and his quarters are 
being got ready for the Duke of Dalmatia," Jos's informant replied. " I 
had it from his own maitre d' hotel. Milor Due de Richemont's people are 
packing up everything. His Grace has fled already, and the Duchess is 
only waiting to see the plate packed to join the King of France at 
Ostend." 

" The King of Trance is at Ghent, fellow," replied Jos, affecting incre- 
dulity. ■'-•' •! 

" He fled last night to Bruges; and embarks to-day from Ostend. The 
Duke de Berri is taken prisoner. Those who wish to be safe had better 
go soon, for the dykes will be open to-morrow, and who can fly when the 
whole country is under water?" . . ' 

" Nonsense, Sir, we are three to one, Sir, .against any force,- J^ony,.can 
bring in the field," Mr. Sedley objected ; " the Austrians and ther Busman's 
are oh their march. He must, he shall be crushed," Jos said, slapping his 
hand^pn'-.the. table! _ ^ '-.-»~~" 

" The Prussians were three to one at Jena, and he took their,. Army and 
kingdom in a week. They were six to one at Mohtmirail, and he scattered 
them like sheep. The Austrian army is coming, but with the Empress and 
the King of Rome at-.its head ; and the Russians, bah ! the Russians will 
withdraw. No quarter is to be given to the English, on account of their 
cruelty to our braves on board" the infamous pontoons. Look here, here 
it is in black' and white. Here's the proclamation of his Majesty the 
Emperor and King," said the now declared partisan of Napoleon, and 
taking the document from his pocket, Isidor sternly thrust it into his 
master's face, and already looked upon the frogged coat and valuables as 
his own spoil. 

• Jof^was, if not seriously alarmed as yet,, at least considerably disturbed 
in.nmid.'", "Give me my coat and cap, Sir," said he, "and follow me. I 
willigp myself and learn the truth of these Reports." Isidor was furious as 
Jos put' on the braided frock. "Milor had better not wear that military 
coat," said he; "the Erenchmen have sworn not to give quarter to a single 
**British soldier." ■ ' 

".Silence, Sirrah !" said Jos, with a resolute countenance still, and thrust 
his arm into the sleeve with indomitable resolution, in the performance of 
which heroic act he was found by Mrs. Rawdon Crawley, who at this 
juncture came up to visit Amelia, and entered without ringing at the ante- 
chamber door. 

Rebecca was dressed very neatly and smartly, as usual ; her quiet sleep 
after Rawdon's departure had refreshed her, and her pink smiling cheeks 
were quite pleasant to look at, in a town and on a day when everybody 
else's countenance wore the appearance of the deepest anxiety and gloom ». 
She laughed at the attitude in which Jos was discovered, and the struggles 
and convulsions with which- the stout gentleman thrust himself into the 
braided coat. 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 



269 



" Are you preparing to join the army, Mr. Joseph ? " she said. " Is there 
to be nobody left in Brussels to protect us poor ■women?" Jos succeeded 




in plunging into the coat, and came forward blushing and stuttering out 
excuses to his fair visitor. " How was she after the events of the morning 
— after the fatigues of the ball the night before ? " Monsieur Isidor dis- 
appeared into his master's adjacent bed-room, bearing off the flowered 
dressing-gown. 

" How good of you to ask," said she, pressing one of his hands in both 
her own. "How cool and collected you look when everybody else is 
frightened ! How is our dear little Emmy ? It must have been an 
awful, awful parting." 

"Tremendous," Jos said. 

'■' You men can bear anything," replied the lady. "Parting or danger 
are nothing to you. Own now that you were going to join the army, and 
leave us to our fate. I know you were — something tells me you were. I 
was so frightened, when the thought came into my head (for I do some- 
times think of you when I am alone, Mr. Joseph !), that I ran off imme- 
diately to beg and entreat you not to fly from us." 

This speech might be interpreted, "My dear Sir, should an accident 
befal the army, and a retreat be necessary, you have a very comfortable 



270 VANITY FAIR. 



carriage, in which I propose to take a seat." I don't know whether Jos 
understood the words in this sense. But he was profoundly mortified hy 
the lady's inattention to him, during their stay at Brussels. He had never 
been presented to any of Eawdon Crawley's great acquaintances : he had 
scarcely been invited to Bebecca's parties ; for he was too timid to play 
much, and his presence bored George and Eawdon equally, who neither of 
them, perhaps, liked to have a witness of the amusements in which the 
pair chose to indulge. " Ah !" thought Jos, {t now she wants me she comes 
to me. When there is nobody else in the way she can think about old 
Joseph Sedley !" But besides these doubts he felt flattered at the idea 
Bebecca expressed of his coinage. 

He blushed a good deal, and put on an air of importance. "I should 
like to see the action," he said. " Every man of any spirit would, yon 
know. I 've seen a little service in India, but nothing on this grand 
scale." 

" You men would sacrifice anything for a pleasure," Bebecca answered, 
" Captain Crawley left me this morning as gay as if he was going to a 
hunting party. What does he care ! What do any of you care for the 
agonies and tortures of a poor forsaken woman ? (I wonder whether he 
could really have been going to the troops, this great lazy gourmand ?) 
Oh ! dear Mr. Sedley, I have come to you for comfort — for consolation. 
I have been on my knees all the morning. I tremble at the frightful 
danger into which our husbands, our friends, our brave troops and allies, 
are rushing. And I come here for shelter, and find another of my friends — 
the last remaining to me — bent upon plunging into the dreadful scene !" 

" My dear Madam," Jos replied, now beginning to be quite soothed. 
" Don't be alarmed. I only said I should like to go — what Briton would 
not ? But my duty keeps me here : I can't leave that poor creature in 
the next room." And he pointed with Ms finger to the door of the 
chamber in which Amelia was. 

" Good noble brother ! " Bebecca said, putting her handkerchief to her 
eyes, and smelling the eau-de-cologne with which it was scented. " I 
have done you injustice : you have got a heart. I thought you had not." 

" O, upon my honour ! " Jos said, making a motion as if he woidd lay 
his hand upon the spot in question. " You do me injustice, indeed yon 
do — my dear Mrs. Crawley." 

" I do, now your heart is true to your sister. But I remember two 
years ago — when it was false to me ! " Bebecca said, fixing her eyes upon 
Mm for an instant, and then turning away into the window. 

Jos blushed violently. That organ which he was accused by Bebecca 
of not possessing began to thump tiunultuously. He recalled the days 
when he had fled from her, and the passion which had once inflamed him 
— the days when he had driven her in his curricle : when she had knit the 
green purse for him : when he had sate enraptured gazing at her white 
arms, and bright eyes. 

" I know you think me ungrateful," Bebecca continued, coming o\it of 
the window, and once more looking at him and addressing him in a low 
tremulous voice. " Your coldness, your averted looks, your manner when 
we have met of late — when I came in just now, all proved it to me. . But 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 271 

were there no reasons why I should avoid you ? Let your own heart 
answer that question. Do you think my husband was too much inclined 
to welcome you ? The only unkind words I have ever had from him (I 
will do Captain Crawley that justice) have been about you — and most 
cruel, cruel words they were." 

" Good gracious ! what have I done?" asked Jos in a flurry of pleasure 
and perplexity ; " what have I done — to — to — ?" 

"Is jealousy nothing?" said Eebecca. t: He makes me miserable 
about you. And whatever it might have been once — my heart is all his. 
I am innocent now. Am I not, Mr. Sedley ?" 

All Jos's blood tingled with delight, as he surveyed this victim to his 
attractions. A few adroit words, one or two knowing tender glances of the 
eyes, and his heart was inflamed again and his doubts and suspicions 
forgotten. From Solomon downwards, have not wiser men than he been 
cajoled and befooled by women ? " If the worst comes to the worst," 
Becky thought, "my retreat is secure; and I have a right-hand seat in 
the barouche." 

There is no knowing into what declarations of love and ardour the 
tumultous passions of Mr. Joseph might have led him, if Isidor the valet 
had not made his re-appearance at this minute, and begun to busy himself 
about the domestic affairs. Jos, who was just going to gasp out an avowal, 
choked almost with the emotion that he was obliged to restrain. Eebecca 
too bethought her that it was time she should go in and comfort her 
dearest Amelia. " Au revoir" she said, kissing her hand to Mr. Joseph, 
and tapped gently at the door of his sister's apartment. As she entered 
and closed the door on herself, he sank down in a chair, and gazed and 
sighed and puffed portentously. " That coat is very tight for Milor," 
Isidor said, still having Ins eye on the frogs ; but his master heard him 
not : his thoughts were elsewhere : now glowing, maddening, upon the 
contemplation of the enchanting Eebecca : anon shrinking guiltily before 
the vision of the jealous Eawdon Crawley, with his curling, fierce mus- 
tachios, and Ids terrible duelling pistols loaded and cocked. 

Eebecca's appearance struck Amelia with terror, and made her shrink 
back. It recalled her to the world and the remembrance of yesterday. 
In the overpowering fears about to-morrow she had forgotten Eebecca, — 
jealousy — everything except that her husband was gone and was in 
danger. Until this dauntless worldling came in and broke the spell, and 
lifted the latch, we too have forborne to enter into that sad chamber. 
How long had that poor girl been on her knees ! what hours of speechless 
prayer and bitter prostration had she passed there ! The war- chroniclers 
who write brilliant stories of fight and triumph scarcely tell us of these. 
These are too mean parts of the pageant : and you don't hear widows' 
cries or mothers' sobs in the midst of the shouts and jubilation in the 
great Chorus of Victory. And yet when was the time, that such have 
not cried out : heart-broken, humble Protestants, unheard in the uproar of 
the triumph ! 

After the first movement of terror in Amelia's mind — when Eebecca's 
green eyes lighted upon her, and rustling in her fresh silks and brilliant 
ornaments, the latter tripped up with extended arms to embrace her — a 



272 VANITY FAIR. 



feeling of anger succeeded, and from being deadly pale before, lier face 
flushed up red, and she returned Rebecca's look after a moment with a 
steadiness which surprised and somewhat abashed her rival. 

" Dearest Amelia, you are very unwell," the visitor said, putting forth 
her hand to take Amelia's. " What is it ? I could not rest until I knew 
how you were." 

Amelia drew back her hand — never since her life began had that gentle 
soul refused to believe or to answer any demonstration of good-will or 
affection. But she drew back her hand, and trembled all over. "Why- 
are you here, Eebecca ?" she said, still looking at her solemnly with her 
large eyes. These glances troubled her visitor. 

" She must have seen him give me the letter at the ball," Eebecca 
thought. " Don't be agitated, dear Amelia," she said, looking down. 
" I came but to see if I could — if you were well." 

" Are you well ? " said Amelia. " I dare say you are. You don't love 
your husband. You would not be here if you did. Tell me, Eebecca, 
did I ever do you anything but kindness ? " 

" Indeed, Amelia, no," the other said, still hanging down her head. 

" When you were quite poor, who was it that befriended you ? Was I 
not a sister to you ? You saw us all in happier days before he married 
me. I was all in all then to him ; or would he have given up his fortune, 
his family, as he nobly did to make me happy? Why did you come 
between my love and me ? Who sent you to separate those whom God 
joined, and take my darling's heart from me — my own husband? Do 
you think you could love him as I did ? His love was everything to me. 
You knew it, and wanted to rob me of it. For shame, Eebecca ; bad and 
wicked woman — false friend and false wife." 

"Amelia, I protest before God, I have done my husband no wrong," 
Eebecca said, turning from her. 

"Have you done me no wrong, Eebecca? You did not succeed, but 
you tried. Ask your heart if you did not ? " 

She knows nothing, Eebecca thought. 

" He came back to me. I knew he would. I knew that no falsehood, 
no flattery, could keep him from me long. I knew he woidd come. I 
prayed so that he should." 

The poor girl spoke these words with a spirit and volubility which 
EebecCa had never before seen in her, and before which the latter was 
quite dumb. " But what have I done to you," she continued in a more 
pitiful tone, "that you should try and take him from me? I had him 
but for six weeks. You might have spared me those, Eebecca. And yet, 
from the very first day of our wedding, you came and blighted it. Now 
he is gone, are you come to see how unhappy I am?" She continued, 
" You made me wretched enough for the past fortnight : you might have 
spared me to-day." 

" I — I never came here," interposed Eebecca, " with unlucky truth." 

" No. You didn't come. You took him away. Are you come to fetch 
him from me ? " she continued in a wilder tone. " He was here, but he is 
gone now. There on that very sofa he sate. Don't touch it. We sate 
and talked there. I was on his knee, and my arms were round his neck, 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 273 

and we said ' Our Father.' Yes, he was here : and they came and took 
him away, but he promised me to come back." 

"He will come back, my dear," said Eebecca, touched in spite of 
herself. » 

'.'Look," said Amelia, "this is his sash — isn't it a pretty colour?" and 
she took up the fringe and kissed it. She had tied it round her waist at 
some part of the day. She had forgotten her anger, her jealousy, the very 
presence of her rival seemingly. For she walked silently and almost with 
a smile on her face, towards the bed, and began to smooth down George's 
pillow. 

Eebecca walked, too, silently away. " How is Amelia ?" asked Jos, who : 
still held his position in the chair. 

" There should be somebody with her," said Eebecca. " I think she is - 
very unwell ;" and she went away with a very grave face, refusing Mr. 
Sedley's entreaties that she would stay and partake of the early dinner 
which he had ordered. 

Eebecca was of a good-natured and obliging disposition; and she liked 
Amelia rather than otherwise. Even her hard words, reproachful as they 
were, were complimentary — the groans of a person stinging under defeat. 
Meeting Mrs. O'Dowd, whom the Dean's sermons had by no means com- 
forted, and who was walking very disconsolately in the Pare, Eebecca 
accosted the latter, rather to the surprise of the Major's wife, who was not 
accustomed to such marks of politeness from Mrs. Eawdon Crawley, and 
informing her that poor little Mrs. Osborne was in a desperate condition, 
and almost mad with grief, sent off the good-natured Irishwoman straight 
to see if she could console her young favourite. 

" I 've cares of my own enough," Mrs. O'Dowd said, gravely, " and I- 
thought poor Amelia would be little wanting for company this day. But 
if she 's so bad as you say, and you can't attend to her; who used to be so 
fond of her, faith I '11 see if I can be of service, And so good-maming to 
ye, Madam ;" with which speech and a toss of her head, the lady of the 
repayther took a farewell of Mrs. Crawley, whose company she by no 
means courted. 

Becky watched her marching off, with a smile on her lip. She had the 
keenest sense of humour, and the Parthian look which the retreating Mrs. 
O'Dowd flung over her shoulder almost upset Mrs. Crawley's gravity. 
" My service to ye, me fine Madam, and I'm glad to see ye so 
cheerful," thought Peggy. " It 's not you that will cry your eyes out 
with grief, any way." And with this she passed on, and speedily found 
her way to Mrs. Osborne's lodgings. 

The poor soul was still at the bedside, where Eebecca had left her, and 
stood almost crazy with grief. The Major's wife, a stronger minded 
woman, endeavoured her best to comfort her young friend. " You must 
bear up, Amelia, dear," she said kindly, " for he mustn't find you ill when 
he sends for you after the victory. It 's not you are the only woman that 
are in the hands of God this day." 

" I know that. I am very wicked, very weak," Amelia said. She 
knew her own weakness well enough. The presence of the more resolute 

T 



274 VANITY FAIK. 



friend checked it, however : and she was the better of this control and 
company. They went on till two o'clock ; their hearts were with the 
column as it marched farther and farther away. Dreadful doubt and 
anguish — prayers and fears and griefs unspeakable — followed the regiment. 
It was the women's tribute to the war. It taxes both alike, aud takes 
the blood of the men, and the tears of the women. 

At half-past two an event occurred of daily importance to Mr. Joseph : 
the dinner hour arrived. Warriors may fight and perish, but he must 
dine. He came into Amelia's room to see if he could coax her to share 
that meal. " Try," said he ; " the soup is very good. Do try, Emmy," 
and he kissed her hand. Except when she was married, he had not done 
so much for years before. " You are very good and kind, Joseph," she 
said. " Everybody is, but, if you please, I will stay in my room to-day." 
The savour of the soup, however, was agreeable to Mrs. O'Dowd's 
nostrils : and she thought she would bear Mr. Jos company. So the two 
sate down to their meal. " God bless the meat," said the Major's wife, 
solemnly : she was thinking of her honest Mick, riding at the head of his 
regiment : " 'Tis but a bad dinner those poor boys will get to-day," she 
said, with a sigh, and then, like a philosopher, fell to. 

Jos's spirits rose with his meal. He would drink the regiment's health ; 
or, indeed, take any other excuse to indulge in a glass of champagne. 
"We'll drink to O'Dowd and the brave — th," said he, bowing gal- 
lantly to his guest. " Hey, Mrs. O'Dowd. PHI Mrs. O'Dowd's glass, 
Isidor." 

But all of a sudden, Isidor started, and the Major's wife laid down her 
knife and fork. The windows of the room were open, and looked south- 
ward, and a dull distant sound came over the sun-lighted roofs from that 
direction. " What is it ? " said Jos. " Why don't you pour, you rascal ?" 
" Vest lefeu" said Isidor, running to the balcony. 
" God defend us ; it 's cannon ! " Mrs. O'Dowd cried, starting up, and 
followed too to the window. A thousand pale and anxious faces might 
have been seen looking from other casements. And presently it seemed 
as if the whole population of the city rushed into the streets. 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

IN "WHICH JOS TAKES FLIGHT, AND THE WAS, IS BROUGHT TO A 

CLOSE. 




E of peaceful London City, 
have never beheld — and 
please God never shall 
witness — such a scene of 
hurry and alarm, as that 
which Brussels presented. 
Crowds rushed to the 
Namur gate, from which 
direction the noise pro- 
ceeded, and many rode 
along the level chaussee, 
to be in advance of any 
intelligence from the 
army. Each man asked 
his neighbour for news ; 
and even great English lords and ladies condescended to speak to persons 
whom they did not know. The friends of the French went abroad, wild with 
excitement, and prophecying the triumph of their Emperor. The mer- 
chants closed their shops, and came out to swell the general chorus of alarm 
and clamour. Women rushed to the churches, and crowded the chapels, and 
knelt and prayed on the flags and steps. The dull sound of the cannon went 
on rolling, rolling. Presently carriages with travellers began to leave the 
town, galloping away by the Ghent barrier. The prophecies of the French 
partisans began to pass for facts. "He has cut the armies in two," it was 
said. " He is marching straight on Brussels. He will overpower the 
English, and be here to-night." " He will overpower the English," 
shrieked Isidor to his master, "and will be here to-night." The man 
bounded in and out from the lodgings to the street, always returning with 
some fresh particulars of disaster. Jos's face grew paler and paler. 
Alarm began to take entire possession of the stout civilian. All the 
champagne he drank brought no courage to him. Before sunset he was 
worked up to such a pitch of nervousness as gratified his friend Isidor to 
behold, who now counted surely upon the spoils of the owner of the laced 
coat. 

The women were away all this time. After hearing the firing for a 
moment, the stout Major's wife bethought her of her friend in the next 
chamber, and ran in to watch, and if possible to console, Amelia. The 
idea that she had that helpless and gentle creature to protect, gave 
additional strength to the natural courage of the honest Irishwoman. She 

T 2 



276 VAXITY FATE. 



passed five hours by her friend's side, sometimes in remonstrance, some- 
times talking cheerfully, oftener in silence, and terrified mental supplica- 
tion. " I never let go her hand once," said the stout lady afterwards, 
"until after sunset, when the firing was over." Pauline, the honne, was 
on her knees at church hard by, praying for son Jiomme a elle. 

When the noise of the cannonading was over, Mrs. O'Dowd issued out of 
Amelia's room into the parlour adjoining, where Jos sate with two emptied 
flasks, and courage entirely gone. Once or twice he had ventured into his 
sister's bed-room, looking very much alarmed, and as if he would say 
something. But the Major's wife kept her place, and he went away with- 
out disburthening himself of his speech. He was ashamed to tell her that 
he wanted to fly. 

But when she made her appearance in the dining-room, where he sate 
in the twilight in the cheerless company of his empty champagne-bottles, 
he began to open his mind to her. 

" Mrs. O'Dowd," he said, " hadn't you better get Amelia ready?" 
"Are you going to take her out a walk?" said the Major's lady; 
" sure she 's too weak to stir." 

" I — I 've ordered the carriage," he said, " and — and post-horses ; 
Isidor is gone for them," Jos continued. 

" "What do you want with driving to-night ?" answered the lady. " Isn't 
she better on her bed ? I've just got her to lie down." 

" Get her up," said Jos ; " she must get up, 1 say :" and he stamped 
his foot energetically. " I say the horses are ordered — yes, the horses are 
ordered. It 's all over, and — " 

"And what?" asked Mrs; O'Dowd. ■ 

" I'm off for Ghent," Jos answered. " Everybody is going ; there's a 
place for you ! "We shall start in half-an-hour." 

The Major's wife looked at him with infinite scorn. " I don't move till 
O'Dowd gives me the route," said she. " You may go if you bke, Mr. 
Sedley ; but, faith, Ameba and I stop here." 

" She shall go" said Jos, with another stamp of his foot. Mrs. O'Dowd 
put herself with arms akimbo before the bed-room door. 

"Is it her mother you're going to take her to ?" she said ; " or do you 
want to go to Mamma yourself, Mr. Sedley ? Good marning — a pleasant 
journey to ye, sir. Bon voyage, as they say, and take my counsel, and 
shave off them mustachios, or they'll bring you into mischief." 

"T> — n !" yelled out Jos, wild with fear, rage, and mortification; and 
Isidor came in at this juncture, swearing in his turn. "Pas de chevaux, 
sacrebleu /" hissed out the furious domestic. All the horses were gone. 
Jos was not the only man in Brussels seized wdth panic that day. 

But Jos's fears, great and cruel as they were already, were destined to 
increase to an almost frantic pitch before the night was over. It has been 
mentioned how Paubne, the bonne, had son Jiomme a elle, also in the ranks 
of the army that had gone out to meet the Emperor Napoleon. This 
lover was a native of Brussels, and a Belgian hussar. The troops of his 
nation signabzed themselves in this war for anything but courage, and 
young Van Cntsum, Pauline's admirer, was too good a soldier to disobey 
his Colonel's orders to run away. Whilst in garrison at Brussels young 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 277 

Kegulus (he had been born in the revolutionary times) found his great 
comfort, and passed almost all his leisure moments in Pauline's kitchen ; 
and it was with pockets and holsters crammed full of good things from 
her larder, that he had -taken leave of his weeping sweetheart, to proceed 
upon the campaign a few days before. 

As far as his regiment was concerned, this campaign was over now. 
They had formed a part of the division under the command of his Sovereign 
apparent, the Prince of Orange, and as respected length of swords and 
mustachios, and the richness of uniform and equipments, Regulus and 
his comrades looked to be as gallant a body of men as ever trumpets 
sounded for. 

When Ney dashed upon the advance of the allied troops, carrying one 
position after the other, until the arrival of the great body of the British 
army from Brussels changed the aspect of the combat of Quatre Bras, the 
squadrons among which Kegulus rode showed the greatest activity in 
retreating before the French, and were dislodged from one post and another 
which they occupied with perfect alacrity on their part. Their movements 
were only checked by the advance of the British in their rear. Thus 
forced to halt, the enemy's cavalry (whose bloodthirsty obstinacy cannot 
be too severely reprehended) had at length an opportunity of coming to 
close quarters with the brave Belgians before them ; who preferred to 
encounter the British rather than the Trench, and at once turning tail rode 
through the English regiments that were behind them, and scattered in all 
directions. The regiment in. fact did not exist any more. It was nowhere. 
It had no head quarters. Regulus found himself galloping many miles from 
the field of action, entirely alone ; and whither should he fly for refuge so 
naturally as to that kitchen and those faithful arms in which Pauline had 
so often welcomed him ? 

At some ten o'clock the clinking of a sabre might have been heard up 
the stair of the house where the Osbornes occupied a storey in the con- 
tinental fashion. A knock might have been heard at the kitchen door ; 
and poor- Pauline, come back from church, fainted almost with terror as 
she opened it and saw before her her haggard hussar. He looked as pale 
as the midnight dragoon who came to disturb Leonora. Pauline would 
have screamed, but that her cry would have called her masters, and dis- 
covered her friend. She stifled her scream, then, and leading her hero 
into the kitchen, gave him beer, and the choice bits from the dinner, which 
Jos had not had the heart to taste. The hussar showed he was no ghost 
by the prodigious quantity of flesh and beer which he devoured — and 
dming the mouthMs he told his tale of disaster. 

His regiment had performed prodigies of courage, and had withstood 
for a while the onset of the whole Trench army. But they were over- 
whelmed at last, as was the whole British army by this time. Ney 
destroyed each regiment as it came up. The Belgians in vain interposed 
to prevent the butcheiy of the English. The Brunswickers were routed 
and had fled — their Duke was killed. It was a general debacle. He 
sought to drown his sorrow for the defeat in floods of beer. 

Isidor, who had come into the kitchen, heard the conversation, and 
rushed out to inform his master. " It is all over," he shrieked to Jos. 



278 



VANITY FAIR. 



" Milor Duke is a prisoner ; the Duke of Brunswick is killed ; the British 
army is in full flight ; there is only one man escaped, and he is in the 
kitchen now — come and hear him." So Jos tottered into that apartment 
where Eegulus still sate on the kitchen-table, and clung fast to his flagon 




of beer. In the best French which he could muster, and which was in sooth 
of a very ungrammatical sort, Jos besought the hussar to tell his tale. 
The disasters deepened as Eegulus spoke. He Avas the only man of his 
regiment not slain on the field. He had seen the Duke of Brunswick fall, 
the black hussars fly, the Ecossais pounded down by the cannon. 

"And the — th?" gasped Jos. 

" Cut in pieces," said the hussar — upon which Pauline crying out, " 
my mistress, ma lonne petite dame" went off fairly into hysterics,' and 
filled the house with her screams. 

Wild with terror, Mr. Sedley knew not how or where to seek for safety. 
He rushed from the kitchen back to the sitting-room, and cast an appeal- 
ing look at Amelia's door, which Mrs. O'Dowd had closed and locked in 
his face ; but he remembered how scornfully the latter had received him, 
and after pausing and listening for a brief space at the door, he left it, 
and resolved to go into the street, for the first time that day. So, seizing 
a candle, he looked about for his gold-laced cap, and found it lying in its 
usual place, on a console-table, in the ante-room, placed before a mirror 
at which Jos used to coquet, always giving his side-locks a twirl, and his 
cap the proper cock over his eye, before he went forth to make appearance 
in public. Such is the force of habit, that even in the midst of his terror 
he began mechanically to twiddle with his hair, and arrange the cock of 










^ 



sKj ClAv s/at,& ^ ' .&, m ,^/ A 



/ 



'/7r//<'r.; . 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 



279 



his hat. Then he looked amazed at the pale face in the glass before 
him, and especially at his mustachios, which had attained a rich growth 
in the course of near seven weeks, since they had come into the world. 
They Kill mistake me for a military man, thought he, remembering Isidor's 
warning, as to the massacre with which all the defeated British army was 
threatened; and staggering back to his bed-chamber, he began wildly pulling 
the bell which summoned his valet. 

Isidor answered that summons. Jos had sunk in a chair — he had torn 
off his neckcloths, and turned down his collars, and was sitting with both 
his hands lifted to his throat. 

" Coupez-moi, Isidor," shouted he ; " vile ! Coupez-moi I" 

Isidor thought for a moment he had gone mad, and that he wished Ms 
valet to cut his throat. 

" Les moustaches" gasped Jos ; " les moustaches — coupy, rast/, vite /" — 
his French was of this sort — voluble, as we have said, but not remarkable 
for grammar. 




Isidor swept off the mustachios in no time with the razor, and heard 
■with inexpressible delight his master's orders that he shoidd fetch a hat 



280 VANITY FA1E. 



and a plain coat. " Ne porty ploo — habit milltair — bonny — donny a voo, 
prenny dehors" — were Jos's words, — the coat and cap were at last his 
property. 

This gift being made, Jos selected a plain black coat and waistcoat 
from his stock, and put on a large white neckcloth, and a plain beaver. 
If he could have got a shovel-hat he would have worn it. As it was, 
you would have fancied he was a flourishing, large parson of the Church 
of England. 

" Venny maintenong" he continued, " sweevy — ally — -party — dong la 
roo" And so having said, he plunged swiftly down the stairs of the 
house, and passed into the street. 

Although Regulus had vowed that he was the only man of his regiment 
or of the allied army, almost, who had escaped being cut to pieces by Ney, it 
appeared that his statement was incorrect, and that a good number more 
of the supposed victims had survived the massacre. Many scores of 
Begulus's comrades had found their way back to Brussels, and — all agree- 
ing that they had run away — filled the whole town with an idea of the 
defeat of the allies. The arrival of the French was expected hourly ; the 
panic continued, and preparations for flight went on everywhere. No 
horses! thought Jos, in terror. He made Isidor inquire ,of scores of 
persons, whether they had any to lend or sell, and his heart sank within 
him, at the negative answers returned everywhere. Should he take the 
journey on foot ? Even fear could not render that ponderous body so 
active. 

Almost all the hotels occupied by the English in Brussels face the 
Pare, and Jos wandered irresolutely about in this quarter, with crowds 
of other people, oppressed as he was by fear and curiosity. Some families 
he saw more happy than himself, having discovered a team of horses, and 
rattling through the streets in retreat ; others again there were whose case 
was like his own, and who could not for any bribes or entreaties procure 
the necessary means of flight. Amongst these would-be fugitives, Jos 
remarked the Lady Bareacres and her daughter, who sate in her carriage 
in the porte-cochere of their hotel, all their imperials packed, and the 
only drawback to whose flight was the same want of motive power which 
kept Jos stationary. 

Bebecca Crawley occupied apartments in this hotel ; and had before this 
period had sundry hostile meetings with the ladies of the Bareacres 
family. My Lady Bareacres cut Mrs. Crawley on the stairs when they 
met by chance ; and in all places where the latter's name was men- 
tioned, spoke perseveringly ill of her neighbour. The Countess was 
shocked at the familiarity of General Tufto with the aide-de-camp's wife. 
The Lady Blanche avoided her as if she had been an infectious disease. 
Only the Earl himself kept up a sly occasional acquaintance with her, when 
out of the jurisdiction of his ladies. 

Bebecca had her revenge now upon these insolent enemies. It became 
known in the hotel that Captain Crawley had been left behind, and when 
the panic began, Lady Bareacres condescended to send her maid to the 
Captain's wife with her Ladyship's compliments, and a desire to know the 
price of Mrs. Crawley's horses. Mrs. Crawley returned a note with her 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 281 

compliments, and an intimation that it was not her custom to transact 
bargains with ladies' maids. 

This curt reply brought the Earl in person to Beeky's apartment ; but 
he could get no more success than the first ambassador. " Send a lady's 
maid to me I" Mrs. Crawley cried in great auger; " why didn't my Lady 
Bareacres tell me to go and saddle the horses ! Is it her Ladyship that 
wants to escape, or her Ladyship's femme de cliamhre ?" And this was all 
the answer that the Earl bore back to his Countess. 

What will not necessity do ? The Countess herself actually came to 
wait upon Mrs. Crawley on the failure of her second envoy. She entreated 
her to name her own price ; she even offered to invite Becky to Bareacres 
House, if the latter woidd but give her the means of returning to that 
residence. Mrs. Crawley sneered at her. 

" I don't want to be waited on by bailiffs in livery," she said; "you 
will never get back though most probably — at least, not you and your 
diamonds together. The Ereneh will have those. They will be here in 
two hours, and I shall be half way to Ghent by that time. I would not 
sell you my horses, no, not for the two largest diamonds that your Ladyship 
wore at the ball." Lady Bareacres trembled with rage and terror. The 
diamonds were sewed into her habit, and secreted in my Lord's padding 
and boots. " Woman, the diamonds arc at the banker's, and I tcill have 
the horses," she said. Kebecca laughed in her face. The infuriate Coun- 
tess went below, and sate in her carriage ; her maid, her courier, and her 
husband were sent once more through the town, each to look for cattle ; and 
wo betide those who eame last ! Her Ladyship was resolved on departing 
the very instant the horses arrived from any quarter — with her husband 
or without him. 

'■ Kebecca had the pleasure of seeing her Ladyship in the horseless car- 
riage, and keeping her eyes fixed upon her, and bewailing, in the loudest 
tone of voice, the Countess's perplexities. "Not to be able to get horses !" 
she said, " and to have all those diamonds sewed in to the carriage cushions! 
What a prize it will be for the French when they come ! — the carriage and 
the diamonds I mean; not the lady!" She gave this information to 
the landlord, to the servants, to the guests, and the innumerable stragglers 
about the court-yard. Lady Bareacres could have shot her from the car- 
riage-window. 

It was while enjoying the humiliation of her enemy that Kebecca caught 
sight of Jos, who made towards her directly he perceived her. 

That altered, frightened, fat face, told his seeret well enough. He 
too wanted to fly, and was on the look-out for the means of escape. " He 
shall buy my horses," thought Kebecca, "and I '11 ride the mare." 

Jos walked up to his friend, and put the question for the hundredth 
time during the past horn*, " Did she know where horses were to be had ? " 

" What, you fly ?" said Kebecca, with a laugh. " I thought you were 
the champion of all the ladies, Mr. Sedley." 

" I — I 'm not a military man," gasped he. 

"And Amelia? — Who is to protect that poor little sister of yours," 
asked Kebecca. " You surely would not desert her ?" 

"What good can I do her, suppose — suppose the enemy arrive ?" Jos 



282 VANITY FAIR. 



answered. " They '11 spare the women ; but my man tells me that they 
have taken an oath to give no quarter to the men — the dastardly cowards." 

" Horrid ! " cried Eebecca, enjoying his perplexity. 

"Besides, I don't want to desert her," cried the brother. " She slian't 
be deserted. There is a seat for her in my carriage, and one for you, dear 
Mrs. Crawley, if you will come ; and if we can get horses — " sighed he — 

"I have two to sell," the lady said. Jos could have flung himself into 
her arms at the news. "Get the carriage, Isidor," he cried; "we've 
found them — we have found them." 

" My horses never were in harness," added the lady. " Bulfinch would 
kick the carriage to pieces, if you put him in the traces." 

"But he is quiet to ride?" asked the civilian. 

" As quiet as a lamb, and as fast as a hare," answered Rebecca. 

"Do you think he is up to my weight?" Jos said. He was already 
on his back, in imagination, without ever so much as a thought for poor 
Amelia. What person who loved a horse-speculation could resist such a 
temptation ? 

In reply, Eebecca asked him to come into her room, whither he followed 
her quite breathless to conclude the bargain. Jos seldom spent a half 
hour in his life which cost him so much money. Eebecca measuring the 
value of the goods which she had for sale by Jos's eagerness to purchase, 
as well as by the scarcity of the article, put upon her horses a price so 
prodigious as to make even the civilian draw back, " She would sell 
both or neither," she said, resolutely. Eawdon had ordered her not to 
part with them for a price less than that which she specified. Lord 
Bareacres below would give her the same money — and with all her love 
and regard for the Sedley family, her dear Mr. Joseph must conceive that 
poor people must live — nobody, in a word, could be more affectionate, but 
more firm about the matter of business. 

Jos ended by agreeing, as might be supposed of him. The sum he had 
to give her was so large that he was obliged to ask for time ; so large as 
to be a little fortune to Eebecca, who rapidly calculated that with this 
sum, and the sale of the residue of Eawdon's effects, and her pension as a 
widow should he fall, she would now be absolutely independent of the 
world, and might look her weeds steadily in the face. 

Once or twice in the day she certainly had herself thought about flying. 
But her reason gave her better counsel. " Suppose the French do come," 
thought Becky, " what can they do to a poor officer's widow ? Bah ! the 
-times of sacks and sieges are over. We shall be let to go home quietly, 
or I may live pleasantly abroad with a snug little income." 

Meanwhile Jos and Isidor went off to the stables to inspect the newly- 
purchased cattle. Jos bade his man saddle the horses at once. He 
would ride away that very night, that very hour. And he left the valet 
busy in getting the horses ready, and went homewards himself to prepare 
for his departure. It must be secret. He would go to his chamber by 
the back entrance. He did not care to face Mrs. O'Dowd and Amelia, 
and own to them that he was about to run. 

By the time Jos's bargain with Eebecca was completed, and his horses 
iiad been visited and examined, it was almost morning once more. But 



A XOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 283 

though midnight was long passed, there was no rest for the city ; the 
people were up, the lights in the houses flamed, crowds were still about 
the doors, and the streets were busy. Rumours of various natures went 
still from mouth to mouth : one report averred that the Prussians had been 
utterly defeated ; another that it was the English who had been attacked 
and conquered ; a third that the latter had held their ground. This 
last rumour gradually got strength. ISo Frenchmen had made their 
appearance. Stragglers had come in from the army bringing reports more 
and more favourable : at last an aide-de-camp actually reached Brussels 
with despatches for the Commandant of the place, Avho placarded presently 
through the town an official announcement of the success of the allies at 
Quatre JBras, and the entire repulse of the French under Key after a six 
hours' battle. The aide-de-camp must have arrived sometime while Jos 
and Eebecca were making their bargain together, or the latter was inspect- 
ing his purchase. When he reached his own hotel, he found a score of its 
numerous inhabitants on the threshold discoursing of the news ; there was 
no doubt as to its truth. And he went up to communicate it to the ladies 
under his charge. He did not think it was necessary to tell them how he 
had intended to take leave of them, how he had bought horses, and what a 
price he had paid for them. 

But success or defeat was a minor matter to them, who had onlv thought 
for the safety of those they loved. Ameba, at the news of the victory, 
became still more agitated even than before. She was for going that mo- 
ment to the army. She besought her brother with tears to conduct her 
thither. Her doubts and terrors reached their paroxysm ; and the poor 
girl, who for many hours had been plunged into stupor, raved and ran 
hither and thither in hysteric insanity — a piteous sight. No man writhing 
in pain on the hard-fought field fifteen miles off, where lay, after their 
struggles, so many of the brave — no man suffered more keenly than this 
poor harmless victim of the war. Jos could not bear the sight of her pain. 
He left his sister in the charge of her stouter female companion, and 
descended once more to the threshold of the hotel, where everybody still 
lingered, and talked, and waited for more news. 

It grew to be broad daylight as they stood here, and fresh news began 
to arrive from the war, brought bv men who had been actors in the scene. 
Waggons and long country carts laden with wounded came rolling into the 
town ; ghastly groans came from within them, and haggard faces looked up 
sadly from out of the straw. Jos Sedley was looking at one of these 
carriages with a painful curiosity — the moans of the people within were 
frightful — the wearied horses could hardly pull the cart. Stop ! stop ! a 
feeble voice cried from the straw, and the carriage stopped opposite Mr. 
Sedley's hotel. 

"It is George, I know it is !" cried Ameba, rushing in a moment to the 
balcony, with a palhd face and loose flowing hair. It was not George, 
however, but it was the next best thing •. it was news of him. 

It was poor Tom Stubble, who had marched out of Brussels so gallantly 
twenty-four hours before, bearing the colours of the regiment, which he 
had defended very gallantly upon the field. A French lancer had speared 
the young ensign in the leg, who fell, still bravely holding to his flag. At 



284 VANITY FAIE. 



the conclusion of the engagement, a place had been found for the poor boy 
in a cart, and he had been brought back to Brussels, 

" Mr. Sedley, Mr. Sedley ! " cried the boy faintly, and Jos came up 
almost frightened at the appeal. He had not at first distinguished who 
it was that called him. 

Little Tom Stubble held out his. hot and feeble hand. "I'm to be 
taken in here," he said. " Osborne — and — and Dobbin said I was ; and 
you are to give the man two Napoleons : my mother will pay you." This 
young fellow's thoughts, during the long feverish hours passed in the 
cart, had been wandering to his father's parsonage wlrich he had quitted 
only a few months before, and he had sometimes forgotten his pain in 
that delirium. 

The hotel was large, and the people kind, and all the inmates of the 
cart were taken in and placed on various couches. The young ensign 
was conveyed up-stairs to Osborne's quarters. Amelia and the Major's 
wife had rushed down to him, when the latter had recognized him from the 
balcony. You may fancy the feelings of these women when they were 
told that the day was over, and both their husbands were safe ; in what 
mute rapture Amelia fell on her good friend's neck, and embraced her ; 
in what a grateful passion of prayers she. fell on her knees, and thanked 
the Power which had saved her husband. 

Our young lady, in her fevered and nervous condition, could have had 
no more salutary medicine prescribed for her by any physician than that 
which chance put in her way. She and Mrs. O'Dowd watched incessantly 
by the wounded lad, whose pains were very severe, and in the duty thus 
forced upon her, Amelia had not time to brood over her personal anxieties, 
or to give herself up to her own fears and forebodings after her wont. 
The youug patient told in his simple fashion the events of the day, and 
the actions of our Mends of the gallant — th. They had suffered 
severely. They had lost very many officers and men. The Major's 
horse had been shot under him as the regiment charged, and they all 
thought that O'Dowd was gone, and that Dobbin had got his majority, 
until on their return from the charge to their old ground, the Major 
was discovered seated on Pyramus's carcase, refreshing himself from a 
case-bottle. It was Captain Osborne that cut down the Prench lancer 
who had speared the ensign. Amelia turned so pale at the notion, that 
Mrs. O'Dowd stopped the young ensign in this story. And it was Cap- 
tain Dobbin who at the end of the day, though wounded himself, took up 
the lad in his arms and carried him to the surgeon, and thence to the cart 
which was to bring him back to Brussels. And it was he who promised 
the driver two louis if he would make his way to Mr. Sedley's hotel in 
the city ; and tell Mrs. Captain Osborne that the action was over, and that 
her husband was unhurt and well. 

" Indeed, but he has a good heart that William Dobbin," Mrs. O'Dowd 
said, " though he is always laughing at me." 

Young Stubble vowed there was not such another officer in the army, 
and never ceased his praises of the senior captain, his modesty, his kind- 
ness, and his admirable coolness in the field. To these parts of the 
conversation, Amelia lent a very distracted attention : it was only when 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 285 

George was spoken of that she listened, and when he was not mentioned, 
she thought about him. 

In tending hev patient, and in thinking of the wonderful escapes of the 
day before, her second day passed away not too slowly with Amelia. There 
was only one man in the army for her : and as long as he was well, it must 
be owned that its movements interested her little. All the reports which 
Jos brought from the streets fell very vaguely on her ears ; though they 
were sufficient to give that timorous gentleman, and many other people 
then in Brussels, every disquiet. The French had been repulsed certainly, 
but it was after a severe and doubtfid struggle, and with only a division of 
the French army. The Emperor, with the main body, was away at Ligny, 
where he had utterly annihilated the Prussians, and was now free to bring 
his whole force to bear upon the allies. The Duke of Wellington was 
retreating upon the capital, and a great battle must be fought under its 
walls probably, of which the chances were more than doubtful. The Duke 
of Wellington had but twenty thousand British troops on whom he could 
rely, for the Germans were raw militia, the Belgians disaffected ; and with 
this handful his Grace had to resist a hundred and fifty thousand men that 
had broken into Belgium under Napoleon. Under Napoleon ! What warrior 
was there, however famous and skilful, that could fight at odds with him ? 

Jos thought of all these things, and trembled. So did all the rest of 
Brussels — where people felt that the fight of the day before was but the 
prelude to the greater combat which was imminent. One of the armies 
opposed to the Emperor was scattered to the winds already. The few 
English that could be brought to resist him would perish at their posts, 
and the conqueror would pass over their bodies into the city. Woe be to 
those whom he found there ! Addresses were prepared, public function- 
aries assembled and debated secretly, apartments were got ready, and 
tricoloured banners and triumphal emblems manufactured, to welcome the 
arrival of His Majesty the Emperor and King. 

The emigration still continued, and wherever families could find means 
of departure, they fled. When Jos, on the afternoon of the 17th of June, 
went to Eebecca's hotel, he found that the great Bareacres' carriage had at 
length rolled away from the porte-coc/iere. The Earl had procured a pair 
of horses somehow, in spite of Mrs. Crawley, and was rolling on the road 
to Ghent. Louis the Desired, was getting ready his portmanteau in that 
city, too. It seemed as if Misfortune was never tired of worrying into 
motion that unwieldy exile. 

Jos felt that the delay of yesterday had been only a respite, and that his 
dearly bought horses must of a surety be put into requisition. His 
agonies were very severe all this day. As long as there was an English 
army between Brussels and Napoleon, there was no need of immediate 
flight. ; but he had his horses brought from their distant stables, to the 
stables in the court-yard of the hotel where he lived ; so that they might 
be under his own eyes, and beyond the risk of violent abduction. Isidor 
watched the stable-door constantly, and had the horses saddled, to be ready 
for the start. He longed intensely for that event. 

After the reception of the previous day, Eebecca did not care to come 
near her dear Amelia. She clipped the bouquet which George had brought 



286 VANITY FAIE. 



her, and gave fresh water to the flowers, and read over the letter which 
he had sent her. " Poor wretch," she said, twirling round the little bit 
of paper in her fingers, " how I could crush her with this ! — and it is for 
a thing like this that she must break her heart forsooth — for a man who 
is stupid — a coxcomb — and who does not care for her. My poor good 
Eawdon is worth ten of this creature." And then she fell to thinking 
what she should do if — if anything happened to poor good Eawdon, and 
what a great piece of luck it was that he had left his horses behind. 

In the course of this day too, Mrs. Crawley, who saw not without anger 
the Bareacres party drive off, bethought her of the precaution which the 
countess had taken, and did a little needlework for own advantage ; she 
stitched away the major part of her trinkets, bills, and bank-notes about 
her person, and so prepared, was ready for any event — to fly if she 
thought fit, or to stay and welcome the conqueror, were he Englishman or 
Frenchman. And I am not sure that she did not dream that night of 
becoming a duchess and Madame la Marechale, while Eawdon wrapped in 
his cloak, and making his bivouac under the rain at Mount Saint John, 
was thinking, with all the force of his heart, about the little wife whom he 
had left behind him. 

The next day was a Sunday. And Mrs. Major O'Dowd had the satis- 
faction of seeing both her patients refreshed in health and spirits by some 
rest which they had taken during the night. She herself had slept on a 
great chair in Amelia's room, ready to wait upon her poor friend or 
the ensign, should either need her nursing. When morning came, this 
robust woman went back to the house where she and her Major had their 
billet ; and here performed an elaborate and splendid toilette, befitting the 
day. And it is very possible that whilst alone in that chamber, which 
her husband had inhabited, and where his cap still lay on the pillow, and 
his cane stood in the corner, one prayer at least was sent up to Heaven 
for the welfare of the brave soldier, Michael O'Dowd. 

When she returned she brought her prayer-book with her, and her 
uncle the Dean's famous book of sermons, out of which she never failed to 
read every Sabbath : not understanding all, haply, not pronouncing many 
of the words aright, which were long and abstruse — for the Dean was a 
learned man, and loved long Latin words — but with great gravity, vast 
emphasis, and with tolerable correctness in the main. How often has my 
Mick listened to these sermons, she thought, and me reading in the cabin 
of a calm ! She proposed to resume this exercise on the present day, with 
Amelia and the wounded ensign for a congregation. The same service 
was read on that day in twenty thousand churches at the same hour ; and 
milHons of British men and women, on their knees, implored protection of 
the Father of all. 

They did not hear the noise which disturbed our little congregation at 
Brussels. Much louder than that which had interrupted them two days 
previously, as Mrs. O'Dowd was reading the service in her best voice, the 
cannon of Waterloo began to roar. 

When Jos heard that dreadful sound, he made up his mind that he 
would bear this perpetual recurrence of terrors no longer, and would fly at 
once. He rushed into the sick man's room, where our three friends had 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 287 

paused in their prayers, and further interrupted them by a passionate 
appeal to Amelia. 

" I can't stand it any more, Emmy," he said ; "I won't stand it ; and 
you must come with me. I have bought a horse for you — never mind 
at what price — and you must dress and come with me, and ride behind 
Isidor." 

" God forgive me, Mr. Sedley, but you are no better than a coward,'* 
Mrs. O'Dowd said, laying down the book. 

" I say come, Amelia," the civilian went on ; " never mind what she 
says ; why are we to stop here and be butchered by the Frenchmen ?" 

" You forget the — th, my boy," said the Uttle Stubble, the wounded 
hero, from his bed — " and — and vou won't leave me, will you, Mrs. 
O'Dowd?" 

" No, my dear fellow," said she, going up and kissing the boy. " No 
harm shall come to you while /stand by. I don't budge till I get the 
word from Mick. A pretty figure I'd be, wouldn't I, stuck behind that 
chap on a pillion ? " 

This image made the young patient to burst out laughing in his bed, 
and even made Amelia smile. " I don't ask her," Jos shouted out — " I 
don't ask that — that Irishwoman, but you, Amelia; once for all, will vou 
come ? " 

" Without my husband, Joseph?" Amelia said with a look of wonder, 
and gave her hand to the Major's wife. Jos's patience was exhausted. 

" Good bye, then," he said, shaking his fist in a rage, and slamming the 
door by which he retreated. And this time he really gave his order for 
march : and mounted in the court-yard. Mrs. O'Dowd heard the clatter- 
ing hoofs of the horses as they issued from the gate ; and looking on, made 
many scornful remarks on poor Joseph as he rode down the street with 
Isidor after him in the laced cap. The horses, which had not been exercised 
for some days, were lively, and sprang about the street. Jos, a clumsy 
and timid horseman, did not look to advantage in the saddle. " Look at 
him, Amelia, dear, driving into the parlour window. Such a bull in a 
china-shop J never saw." And presently the pair of riders disappeared 
at a canter down the street leading in the direction of the Ghent road. 
Mrs. O'Dowd pursuing them with a fire of sarcasm so long as they were 
in sight. 

All that day from morning until past sunset, the cannon never ceased to 
roar. It was dark when the cannonading stopped all of a sudden. 

All of us have read of what occurred during that interval. The tale is 
in every Englishman's mouth ; and you and I, who were children when 
the great battle was won and lost, are never tired of hearing and recount- 
ing the history of that famous action. Its remembrance rankles still in 
the bosoms of millions of the countrymen of those brave men who lost the 
day. They pant for an opportunity of revenging that humiliation ; and if 
a contest, ending in a victory on their part, should ensue, elating them in 
their turn, and leaving its cursed legacy of hatred and rage behind to us, 
there is no end to the so-called glory and shame, and to the alternations 
of successful and unsuccessful murder, in which two high-spirited nations 
might engage. Centuries hence, we Frenchmen and Englishmen might be 



288 VANITY FAIR. 



boasting and killing each other still, carrying out bravely the Devil's code 
of honour. 

All our friends took their share and fought like men in the great field. 
All day long, whilst the women were praying ten miles away, the lines 
of the dauntless English infantry were receiving and repelling the furious 
charges of the French horsemen. Guns which were heard at Brus- 
sels were ploughing up their ranks, and comrades falling, and the 
resolute survivors closing in. Towards evening, the attack of the French, 
repeated and resisted so bravely, slackened in its fury. They had other 
foes besides the British to engage, or were preparing for a final onset. 
It came at last : the columns of the Imperial Guard marched up the hill 
of Saint Jean, at length and at once to sweep the English from the 
height which they had maintained all day, and spite of all : unscared by 
the thunder of the artillery, which hurled death from the English line — the 
dark rolling column pressed on and up the hill. It seemed almost to 
crest the eminence, when it began to wave and falter. Then it stopped, 
still facing the shot. Then at last the English troops rushed from the * 
post from which no enemy had been able to dislodge them, and the Guard 
turned and fled. 

No more firing was heard at Brussels — the pursuit rolled miles away. 
The darkness came down on the field and city, and Amelia was praying 
for George, who was lying on his face, dead, with a bullet through his 
heart. 



I 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 




IN "WHICH MISS CRAWLEY S RELATIONS ARE VERY ANXIOUS 

ABOUT HER. 

;, HE kind reader must please to re- 
member — while the army is march- 
ing from Flanders, and, after its 
heroic actions there, is advancing 
to take the fortifications on the 
frontiers of France, previous to ail 
occupation of that country, — that 
there are a number of persons living 
peaceably in England who have to 
do with the history at present in 
hand, and must come in for their 
share of the chronicle. During the 
time of these battles and dangers, 
old Miss Crawley was living at 
Brighton, very moderately moved 
by the great events that were going 
on. The great events rendered the 
newspapers rather interesting, to be sure, and Briggs read out the Gazette, 
in which Eawdon Crawley's gallantry was mentioned with honour, and his 
promotion to be Captain and Lieutenant-Colonel was presently recorded. 

" What a pity that young man has taken such an irretrievable step in the 
world," his aunt said ; " with his rank and distinction he might have married 
a brewer's daughter with a quarter of a million — like Miss Grains 3 or have 
looked to ally himself with the best families in England. He would have 
had my money some day or other 3 or his children would — for I 'm not 
in a hurry to go, Miss Briggs, although you may be in a hurry to be 
rid of me ; and instead of that, he is a doomed pauper, with a dancing- 
girl for a wife." 

" Will my dear Miss Crawley not cast an eye of compassion upon 
the heroic soldier, whose name is inscribed in the annals of his country's 
glory?" said Miss Briggs, who was greatly excited by the Waterloo 
proceedings, and loved speaking romantically when there was an occasion. 
" Has not the Captain — or the Colonel as I may now style him — done 
deeds which make the name of Crawley illustrious ?" 

« Briggs, you are a fool," said Miss Crawley : " Colonel Crawley has 
dragged the name of Crawley through the mud, Miss Briggs. Marry a 
drawing-master's daughter, indeed ! — marry a dame de compagnie — for 
she was no better, Briggs 3 no, she was just what you are — only younger, 
and a great deal prettier and cleverer. Were you an accomplice of that 

u 



290 VANITY FAIB. 



abandoned wretch, I wonder, of whose vile arts lie became a victim, and 
of whom you used to be such an admirer ? Yes, I daresay you were an 
accomplice. But you will find yourself disappointed in my will, I can 
tell you : and you will have the goodness to write to Mr. Waxy, and say 
that I desire to see him immediately." Miss Crawley was now in the 
habit of writing to Mr. Waxy her solicitor almost every day in the week, 
for her arrangements respecting her property were all revoked, and her 
perplexity was- great as to the future disposition of her money. 

The spinster had, however, rallied considerably ; as was proved by the 
increased vigour and frequency of her sarcasms upon Miss Briggs, all 
which attacks the poor companion bore with meekness, with cowardice, 
with a resignation that was half generous, and half hypocritical — with the 
slavish submission, in a word, that women of her disposition and station 
are compelled to. show. Who has not seen how women bully women? 
What tortures have men to endure, comparable to those daily-repeated 
shafts of scorn and cruelty with which poor women are riddled by the 
tyrants of their sex ? Poor victims ! But we are starting from our 
proposition, which is, that Miss Crawley was always particularly annoy- 
ing and savage when she was rallying from illness — as they say wounds 
tingle most when they are about to heal. 

While thus approaching, as all hoped, to convalescence, Miss Briggs 
was the only victim admitted into the presence of the invalid ; yet Miss 
Crawley's relatives afar off did not forget their beloved kinswoman, and by 
a number of .tokens, presents, and kind affectionate messages, strove to 
keep themselves alive in her recollection. 

In the first place, let us mention her nephew, Bawdon Crawley. A 
few weeks after the famous fight of Waterloo, and after the Gazette had 
made known to her the promotion and gallantry of that distinguished 
officer, the Dieppe packet brought over to Miss Crawley at Brighton, a 
box containing presents, and a dutiful letter, from the ColOnel her nephew. 
In the box were a pair of Prench epaulets, a Cross of the Legion of 
Honour, and the hilt of a sword — relics from the field of battle : and the 
letter described with a good deal of humour how the latter belonged to a 
commanding-officer of the Guard, who having sworn that " the Guard 
died, but never surrendered," was taken prisoner the next minute by a 
private soldier, who broke the Frenchman's sword with the butt of his 
musket, when Kawdon made himself master of the shattered weapon. 
As for the cross and epaulets, they came from a Colonel of French 
cavalry, who had fallen under the aide-de-camp's arm in the battle : and 
Kawdon Crawley did not know what better to do with the spoils than 
to send them to his kindest and most affectionate old friend. Should 
he continue to write to her from Paris, whither the army was marching ? 
He might be able to give her interesting news from that capital, and 
of some of Miss Crawley's old friends of the emigration, to whom she 
had shown so much kindness during their distress. 

The spinster caused Briggs to write back to the Colonel a gracious 
and complimentary letter, encouraging him to continue his correspondence. 
His first letter was so excessively lively and amusing that she should look 
with pleasure for its successors. — " Of course I know," she explained to 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 291 

Miss Briggs, " that Bawdon could not write such a good letter any more 
than you could, my poor Briggs, and that it is that clever little wretch of 
a Bebecca, who dictates every word to him ; but that is no reason why 
my nephew should not amuse me j and so I wish to let him understand 
that I am in high good-humour." 

I wonder whether she knew that it was not only Becky who wrote the 
letters, but that Mrs. Bawdon actually took and sent home the trophies — 
which she bought for a few francs, from one of the innumerable pedlars, 
who immediately began to deal in relics of the war. The novelist, who 
knows everything, knows this also. Be this, however, as it may, Miss 
Crawley's gracious reply greatly encouraged our young friends Bawdon 
and his lady, who hoped for the best from their aunt's evidently pacified 
humour : and they took care to entertain her with many delightful 
letters from Baris, whither, as Bawdon said, they had the good luck to go 
in the track of the conquering army. 

To the rector's lady, who went off to tend her husband's broken 
collar-bone at the Bectory at Queen's Crawley, the spinster's communi- 
cations were by no means so gracious. Mrs. Bute, that brisk, manag- 
ing, lively, imperious woman, had committed the most fatal of all errors 
with regard to her sister-in-law. She had not merely oppressed her and 
her household — she had bored Miss Crawley : and if poor Miss Briggs 
had been a woman of any spirit, she might have been made happy by 
the commission which her principal gave her, to write a letter to Mrs. 
Bute Crawley, saying that Miss Crawley's health was greatly improved 
since Mrs. Bute had left her, and begging the latter on no account to put 
herself to trouble, or quit her family for Miss Crawley's sake. This 
triumph over a lady who had been very haughty and cruel in her beha- 
viour to Miss Briggs, would have rejoiced most women ; but the truth 
is, Briggs was a woman of no spirit at all, and the moment her enemy 
was discomfited she began to feel compassion in her favour. 

" How silly I was," Mrs. Bute thought, and with reason, " ever to 
hint that I was coming, as I did, in that foolish letter when we sent Miss 
Crawley the guinea-fowls. I ought to have gone without a word to the 
poor dear doting old creature, and taken her out of the hands of that 
ninny Briggs, and that harpy of a femme de chambre. Oh ! Bute, Bute, 
why did you break your collar-bone ?" 

Why, indeed? We have seen how Mrs. Bute, having the game in her 
hands, had really played her cards too well. She had ruled over Miss 
Crawley's household utterly and completely, to be utterly and completely 
routed when a favourable opportunity for rebellion came. She and her 
household, however, considered that she had been the victim of horrible 
selfishness and treason, and that her sacrifices in Miss Crawley's behalf 
had met with the most savage ingratitude. Bawdon's promotion, and the 
honourable mention made of his name in the Gazette, filled this good 
Christian lady also with alarm. Would his aunt relent towards him now 
that he was a Colonel and a C.B. ? and would that odious Bebecca once 
more get into favour ? The rector's wife wrote a sermon for her husband 
about the vanity of military glory and the prosperity of the wicked, which 
the worthy parson read in his best voice and without understanding one 

v 2 



292 • VANITY PAIR. 



syllable of it. He had Pitt Crawley for one of his auditors — Pitt, who had 
come with his two half-sisters, to church, which the old Baronet could now 
by now means be brought to frequent. 

Since the departure of Becky Sharp, that old wretch had given himself 
up entirely to his bad courses, to the great scandal of the county and the 
mute horror of his son. The ribbons in Miss Horrocks's cap became more 
splendid than ever. The polite families fled the hall and its owner in 
terror. Sir Pitt went about tippling at his tenants' houses ; and drank 
rum-and-water with the farmers at Mudbury and the neighbouring places 
on market-days. He drove the family coach-and-four to Southampton 
with Miss Horrocks inside : and the county people expected, every week, 
as his son did in speechless agony, that his marriage with her would be 
announced in the provincial paper. It was indeed a rude burthen for Mr. 
Crawley to bear. His eloquence was palsied at the missionary meetings, 
and other religious assemblies in the neighbourhood, where he had been in 
the habit of presiding, and of speaking for hours ; for he .felt, when he 
rose, that the audience said, " That is the son of the old reprobate Sir 
Pitt, who is very likely drinking at the public-house at this very moment." 
And once when he was speaking of the benighted condition of the king of 
Timbuctoo, and the number of his wives who were likewise in darkness, 
some tipsy miscreant from the crowd asked, " How many is there at 
Queen's Crawley, Young Squaretoes?" to the surprise of the platform, 
and the ruin of Mr. Pitt's speech. And the two daughters of the house 
of Queen's Crawley would have been allowed to run utterly wild (for Sir 
Pitt swore that no governess should ever enter into his doors again), had 
not Mr. Crawley, by threatening the old gentleman, forced the latter to 
send them to school. 

Meanwhile, as we have said, whatever individual differences there might 
be between them all, Miss Crawley's dear nephews and nieces were 
unanimous in loving her and sending her tokens of affection. Thus Mrs. 
Bute sent guinea-fowls, and some remarkably fine cauliflowers, and a pretty 
purse or pincushion worked by her darling girls, who begged to keep a 
little place in the recollection of their dear aunt, while Mr. Pitt sent 
peaches and grapes and venison from the Hall. The Southampton coach 
used to carry these tokens of affection to Miss Crawley at Brighton : it 
used sometimes to convey Mr. Pitt thither too : for his differences with Sir 
Pitt caused Mr. Crawley to absent himself a good deal from home now : 
and besides, he had an attraction at Brighton in the person of the Lady 
Jane Sheepshanks whose engagement to Mr. Crawley has been formerly 
mentioned in this history. Her Ladyship and her sisters lived at Brighton 
with their mamma, the Countess Southdown, that strong-minded woman 
so favourably known in the serious world. 

A few words ought to be said regarding her Ladyship and her noble 
family, who are bound by ties of present and future relationship to the 
house of Crawley. Kespecting the chief of the Southdown family, Clement' 
William, fourth Earl of Southdown, little need be told, except that his 
Lordship came into Parliament (as Lord Wolsey), under the auspices of 
Mr. Wilberforce, and for a time was a credit to his political sponsor, and 
decidedly a serious young man. But words caunot describe the feelings 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 293 



of his admirable mother, when she learned, very shortly after her noble 
husband's demise, that her son was a member of several worldly clubs, had 
lost largely at play at Wattiers and the Cocoa Tree ; that he had raised 
money on" post-obits, and encumbered the family estate ; that he drove 
four-in-hand, and patronized the ring ; and that he actually had an opera- 
box, where he entertained the most dangerous bachelor company. His 
name was only mentioned with groans in the dowager's circle. 

The Lady Emily was her brother's senior by many years ; and took 
considerable" rank in the serious world as author of some of the delightful 
tracts before mentioned, and of many hymns and spiritual pieces. A 
mature spinster, and having given up all ideas of marriage, her love for 
the blacks occupied almost all her feelings. It is to her, I believe, we owe 
that beautiful poem, — 

u Lead us to some sunny isle, 
Yonder in the western deep ; 
Where the skies for ever smile, 
And the blacks for ever weep," &c. 

She had correspondences with clerical gentlemen in most of our East 
and "West India possessions ; and report says was once attached to 
the Eeverend Silas Hornblower, who was tattooed in the South Sea 
Islands. 

As for the Lady Jane, on whom, as it has been said, Mr. Pitt 
Crawley's affection had been placed, she was gentle, blushing, silent, 
and timid. In spite of his falling away, she wept for her brother, and was 
quite ashamed of loving him still. Even yet she used to send him little 
hurried smuggled notes, and pop them in the post in private. The one 
dreadful secret which weighed upon her life was, that she and the old 
housekeeper had been to pay Southdown a furtive visit at his chambers in 
the Albany ; and found him — the naughty dear abandoned wretch ! 
smokinsr a cisrar with a bottle of Curacoa before him. She admired her 
sister, she adored her mother, she thought Mr. Crawley the most delight- 
ful and accomplished of men, after Southdown, that fallen angel : and her 
mamma and sister, who were ladies of the most superior sort, managed 
everything for her, and regarded her with that amiable pity, of which 
your really superior woman always has such a share to give away. Her 
mamma ordered her dresses, her books, her bonnets, and her ideas for her. 
She was made to take pony-riding, or piano-exercise, or any other sort of 
bodily medicament, according as my lady Southdown saw meet ; and her 
ladyship would have kept her daughter in pinafores up to her present age 
of six-and-tweuty, but that they were thrown off when Lady Jane was 
presented to Queen Charlotte. 

When these ladies first came to their house at Brighton, it was to them 
alone that Mr. Crawley paid his personal visits, contenting himself by leaving 
a card at his aunt's house, and making a modest inquiry of Mr. Bowls or his 
assistant footman, with respect to the health of the invalid. When he met 
Miss Briggs coming home from the bbrary with a cargo of novels under 
her arm, Mi-. Crawley blushed in a manner quite unusual to him, as he 
stepped forward and shook Miss Crawley's companion by the hand. He 



294 



"VANITY FAIR. 



introduced Miss Briggs to the lady with whom he happened to be walking, 
the Lady Jane Sheepshanks, saying, " Lady Jane, permit me to introduce 
to you my aunt's kindest friend and most 'affectionate companion, Miss 
Briggs, whom you know under another title, as authoress of the delightful 
'Lyrics of the Heart,' of which you are so fond." Lady Jane blushed too 
as she held out a kind little hand to Miss Briggs, and said something very 
civil and incoherent about mamma, and proposing to call on Miss Crawley, 
and being glad to be made known to the friends and relatives of Mi-. 
Crawley; and with soft dove-like eyes saluted Miss Briggs as they 
separated, while Pitt Crawley treated her to a profound courtly bow, such 




as he had used to the Grand Duchess of Pumpernickel, when he was attache- 
at that court. 

The artful diplomatist and disciple of the Machiavellian Binkie ! It 
was he who had given Lady Jane that copy of poor Briggs's early poems, 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 295- 

which he remembered to have seen at Queen's. Crawley, with a dedication 
from the poetess to his father's late wife ; and he brought the volume with 
him to Brighton, reading it in the Southampton coach, and marking it 
with his own pencil, before he presented it to the gentle Lady Jane. 

It was he, too, who laid before Lady Southdown the great advantages which 
might occur from an intimacy between her family and Miss Crawley, — 
advantages both worldly and spiritual, he said : for Miss Crawley was now 
quite alone ; the monstrous dissipation and alliance of his brother Bawdon, 
had estranged her affections from that reprobate young man ; the greedy 
tyranny and avarice of Mrs. Bute Crawley had caused the old lady to 
revolt against the exorbitant pretensions of that part of the family ; and 
though he himself had held off all his life from cultivating Miss Crawley's 
friendship, with perhaps an improper pride, he thought now that every 
becoming means should be taken, both to save her soul from perdition, and 
to secure her fortune to himself as the head of the house of Crawley. 

The strong-minded Lady Southdown quite agreed in both proposals of 
her son-in-law, and was for converting Miss Crawley off hand. At her 
own home, both at Southdown and at Trottermore Castle, this tall and 
awful missionary of the truth rode about the country in her barouche with 
outriders, launched packets of tracts among the cottagers and tenants, and 
would order Gaffer Jones to be converted, as she would order Goody Hicks 
to take a James's powder, without appeal, resistance, or benefit of clergy. 
My Lord Southdown, her late husband, an epileptic and simple-minded 
nobleman, was in the habit of approving of everything which his Matilda 
did and thought. So that whatever changes her own belief might undergo 
(and it accommodated itself to a prodigious variety of opinion, taken from 
all sorts of doctors among the Dissenters) she had not the least scruple in 
ordering all her tenants and inferiors to follow and believe after her. Thus 
whether she received the. Eeverend Saunders McNitre the Scotch 
divine ; or the Eeverend Luke Waters the mild Wesleyan ; or the Eeverend 
Giles Jowls the illuminated Cobbler who dubbed himself Eeverend as 
Napoleon crowned himself Emperor — the household, children, tenantry 
of my Lady Southdown were expected to go down on their knees with 
her Ladyship, and say Amen to the prayers of either Doctor. During these 
exercises old Southdown, on account of his invalid condition, was allowed 
to sit in his own room, and have negus and the paper read to him. Lady 
Jane was the old Earl's favourite daughter, and tended him and loved him 
sincerely : as for Lady Emily, the authoress of the " Washerwoman of 
Finchley Common," her denunciation of future punishments (at this period, 
for her opinions modified afterwards) were so awful that they used to 
frighten the timid old gentleman her father, and the physicians declared 
his fits always occurred after one of her Ladyship's sermons. 

" I will certainly call," said Lady Southdown then, in reply to the 
exhortation of her daughter's pretendu, Mr. Pitt Crawley — "Who is 
Miss Crawley's medical man?" 

Mr. Crawley mentioned the name of Mr. Creamer. 

" A most dangerous and ignorant practitioner, my dear Pitt. I have 
providentially been the means of removing him from several houses : 
though in one or two instances I did not arrive in time. I could not save 



296 VANITY FAIR. 



poor dear General Glanders, who was dying under the hands of that ignorant 
man — dying. He rallied a little under the Podger's pills which I admi- 
nistered to him ; but alas ! it was too late. His death was delightful, 
however ; and his change was only for the better : Creamer, my dear Pitt, 
must leave your aunt." 

Pitt expressed his perfect acquiescence. He too had been carried along 
by the energy of his noble kinswoman, and future mother-in-law. He 
had been made to accept Saunders McNitre, Luke Waters, Giles Jowls, 
Podger's Pills, Podger's Pills, Pokey's Elixir, every one of her Ladyship's 
remedies spiritual or temporal. He never left her house without carrying 
respectfully away with him piles of her quack theology and medicine. O 
my dear brethren and fellow-sojouruers in Vanity Pan, which among you 
does not know and suffer under such benevolent despots ? It is in vain 
you say to them, "Dear Madam, I took Podger's specific at your orders 
last year, and believe in it. Why, why, am I to recant and accept the- 
Podger's articles now ? " There is no help for it ; the faithful proselytizer, if 
she cannot convince by argument, bursts into tears, and the recusant finds 
himself, at the end of the contest, taking down the bolus, and saying, 
" "Well, well, Podger's be it." 

" And as for her spiritual state," continued the Lady, " that of course 
must be looked to immediately ; with Creamer about her, she may go off 
any day : and in what a condition, my dear Pitt, in what a dreadful con- 
dition ! I will send the Peverend Mr. Irons to her instantly. Jane, write 
a line to the Peverend Bartholomew Irons, in the third person, and say 
that I desire the pleasure of his company this evening at tea at half past 
six. He is an awakening man ; he ought to see Miss Crawley before she 
rests this night. And Emily, my love, get ready a packet of books for Miss 
Crawley. Put up ' A Voice from the Elames,' ' A Trumpet-warning to 
Jericho,' and the 'Pleshpots Broken; or, the Converted Cannibal.' ' 

" And the ' Washerwoman of Pmchley Common,' Mamma," said Lady 
Ernily. " It is as well to begin soothingly at first." 

" Stop, my dear ladies," said Pitt the diplomatist. " With every deference 
to the opinion of my beloved and respected Lady Southdown, I think it 
would be quite unadvisable to commence so early upon serious topics with 
Miss Crawley. Pemember her delicate condition, and how little, how very 
little accustomed she has hitherto been to considerations connected with 
her immortal welfare." 

" Can we then begin too early, Pitt? " said Lady Emily, rising with six 
little books already in her hand. 

" If you begin abruptly, you will frighten her altogether. I know my 
aunt's worldly nature so well as to be sure that any abrupt attempt at 
conversion will be the very worst means that can be employed for the 
welfare of that unfortunate lady. You will only frighten and annoy her. 
She will very likely fling the books away, and refuse all acquaintance with 
the givers." 

" You are as worldty as Miss Crawley, Pitt," said Lady Emily, tossing 
out of the room, her books in her hand. 

" And I need not tell you, my dear Lady Southdown," Pitt continued, 
in a low voice, and without heeding the interruption, " how fatal a little 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 297 

want of gentleness and caution may be to any hopes which we may enter- 
tain with regard to the worldly possessions of my aunt. Eemember she 
has seventy thousand pounds ; think of her age, and her highly nervous 
and delicate condition : I know that she has destroyed the will which was 
made in my brother's (Colonel Crawley's) favour : it is by soothing that 
wounded spirit that we must lead it into the right path, and not by frighten- 
ing it ; and so I tliiuk you will agree with me that — that " — 

" Of course, of course," Lady Southdown remarked. "Jane, my love, 
you need not send that note to Mr. Irons. If her health is such that dis- 
cussions fatigue her, we will wait her amendment. I will call upon Miss 
Crawley to-morrow." 

" And if I might suggest, my sweet lady," Pitt said in a bland tone, 
" it would be as well not to take our precious Emily, who is too enthu- 
siastic ; but rather that you should be accompanied by our sweet and dear 
Lady Jane." 

" Most certainly, Emily would ruin everything," Lady Southdown said ; 
and this time agreed to forego her usual practice, which was, as we have 
said, before she bore down personally upon any individual whom she pro- 
posed to subjugate, to fire in a quantity of tracts upon the menaced party ; 
(as a charge of the Erench was always preceded by a furious cannonade). 
Lady Southdown, we say, for the sake of the invalid's health, or for the 
sake of her soul's ultimate welfare, or for the sake of her money, agreed to 
temporise. 

The next day the great Southdown female family carriage, with the 
Earl's coronet and the lozenge (upon which the three lambs trottant 
argent upon the field vert of the Southdowns, were quartered with sable 
on a bend or, three snuff-mulls gules, the cognizance of the house of 
Binkie), drove up in state to Miss Crawley's door, and the tall serious foot- 
man handed in to Mi - . Bowls her Ladyship's cards for Miss Crawley, and 
one likewise for Miss Briggs. By way of compromise, Lady Emily sent in 
a packet in the evening for the latter lady, containing copies of the 
" Washerwoman," and other mild and favourite tracts for Miss B.'s own 
perusal; and a few for the servants' hall, viz. : " Crumbs from the Pantry;" 
" The Prying Pan and the Eire," and " The Livery of Sin," of a much 
stronger kind. 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 



james crawley's pipe is put out. 




HE amiable behaviour of Mr. 
Crawley and lady Jane's kind 
reception of her, highly nattered 
Miss Briggs, who was enabled 
to speak a good word for the 
latter, after the cards of the 
Southdown family had been pre- 
sented to Miss Crawley. A 
Countess's card left personally 
too for her, Briggs, was not a 
little pleasing to the poor friend- 
less companion. "What could 
Lady Southdownmeanby leaving 
a card upon you, I wonder, Miss Briggs?" said the republican Miss 
Crawley ; upon which the companion meekly said "that she hoped 
there could be no harm in a lady of rank taking notice of a poor 
gentlewoman," and she put away this card in her work-box amongst her 
most cherished personal treasures. Furthermore, Miss Briggs explained 
how she had met Mr. Crawley walking with his cousin and long-affianced 
bride the day before : and she told how kind and gentle-looking the lady 
w T as, and what a plain, not to say common, dress she had, all the articles 
of which, from the bonnet down to the boots, she described and estimated 
with female accuracy. 

Miss Crawley allowed Briggs to prattle on without interrupting her too 
much. As she got well, she was pining for society. Mr. Creamer, her 
medical man, would not hear of her returning to her old haunts and dissipa- 
tion in London. The old spinster was too glad to find any companionship 
at Brighton, and not only were the cards acknowledged the very next day, 
but Pitt Crawley was graciously invited to come and see his aunt. He 
came, bringing with him Lady Southdown and her daughter. The dowager 
did not say a word about the state of Miss Crawley's soul ; but talked 
with much discretion about the weather : about the war and the downfall 
of the monster Bonaparte : and above all, about doctors, quacks, and the 
particular merits of Dr. Podgers, whom she then patronised. 

During their interview Pitt Crawley made a great stroke, and one which 
showed that, had his diplomatic career not been blighted by early neglect, 
he might have risen to a high rank in his profession. When the Countess 
Dowager of Southdown fell foul of the Corsican upstart, as the fashion 
was in those days, and showed that he was a monster stained with every 



A XOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 299 

conceivable crime, a coward and a tyrant not fit to live, one whose fall was 
predicted, Sec, Pitt Crawley suddenly took up the cudgels in favour of the 
man of Destiny. He described the First Consid as he saw him at Paris 
at the Peace of Amiens ; when he, Pitt Crawley, had the gratification of 
making the acquaintance of the great and good Mr. Pox, a statesman 
whom, however much he might differ with him, it was impossible not to 
admire fervently — a statesman who had always had the highest opinion 
of the Emperor Napoleon. And he spoke in terms of the strongest 
indignation of the faithless conduct of the allies towards this dethroned 
monarch, who, after giving himself generously up to their mercy, was 
consigned to an ignoble and cruel banishment, while a bigotted Popish 
rabble was tyrannising over France in his stead. 

This orthodox horror of Romish superstition saved Pitt Crawley in Lady 
Southdown's opinion, whilst his admiration for Fox and Napoleon raised 
him immeasurably in Miss Crawley's eyes. Her friendship with that 
defunct British statesman was mentioned when we first introduced her in 
this history. A true Whig, Miss Crawley had been in opposition all 
through the war, and though, to be sure, the downfall of the Emperor did 
not very much agitate the old lady, or his ill-treatment tend to shorten 
her bfe or natural rest, yet Pitt spoke to her heart when he lauded both 
her idols ; and by that single speech made immense progress in her favour. 

" And what do you think, my dear ?" Miss Crawley said to the young 
lady, for whom she had taken a liking at first sight, as she always did for 
pretty and modest young people ; though it must be owned her affections 
cooled as rapidly as they rose. 

Lady Jane blushed very much, and said " that she did not understand 
politics, which she left to wiser heads than her's ; but though Mamma was, 
no doubt, correct, Mr. Crawley had spoken beautifully." And when the 
ladies were retiring at the conclusion of their visit, Miss Crawley hoped 
" Lady Southdown would be so kind as to send her Lady Jane sometimes, if 
she could be spared to come down and console a poor sick lonely old 
woman." This promise was graciously accorded, and they separated upon 
great "terms of amity. 

"Don't let Lady Southdown come again, Pitt," said the old lady. " She 
is stupid and pompous like all your mother's family, whom I never could 
endure. But bring that nice good-natured little Lady Jane as often as ever 
you please." Pitt promised that he would do so. ' He did not tell the 
Countess of Southdown what opinion his aunt had formed of her Ladyship, 
who, on the contrary, thought that she had made a most delightful and 
majestic impression on Miss Crawley. 

And so, nothing loth to comfort a sick lady, and perhaps not sorry in 
her heart to be freed now and again from the dreary spouting of the 
Reverend Bartholomew Irons, and the serious toadies who gathered round 
the footstool of the pompous Countess, her mamma, Lady Jane became a 
pretty constant visitor to Miss Crawley, accompanied her in her drives, and 
solaced many of her evenings. She was so naturally good and soft, that 
even Firkin was not jealous of her j and the gentle Briggs thought her 
friend was less cruel to her, when kind Lady Jane was by. Towards her 



300 VANITY FAIR. 



Ladyship Miss Crawley's manners were charming. The old spinster told her 
a thousand anecdotes about her youth, talking to her in a very different 
strain from that in which she had been accustomed to converse with the 
godless little Rebecca : for there was that in Ladv Jane's innocence which 
rendered light talking impertinence before her, and Miss Crawley was too 
much of a gentlewoman to offend such purity. The young lady herself 
had neyer received kindness except from this old spinster, and her brother 
and father : and she repaid Miss Crawley's engoument by artless sweetness 
and friendship. 

In the autumn evenings (when Rebecca was flaunting at Paris, the 
gayest among the gay conquerors there, and our Amelia, our dear wounded 
Amelia, ah! where was she?) Ladv Jane would be sitting in Miss Crawley's 
dra wing-room singing sweetly to her, in the twilight, her little simple 
songs and hymns, while the sun was setting and the sea was roaring on 
the beach. The old spinster used to wake up when these ditties ceased, 
and ask for more. As for Briggs, and the quantity of tears of happiness 
which she now shed as she pretended to knit, and looked out at the 
splendid ocean darkling before the windows, and the lamps of heaven 
beginning more brightly to shine — who, I say, can measure the happiness 
and sensibility of Briggs ? 

. Pitt meanwhile in the dining-room, with a pamphlet of the Corn Laws 
or a Missionary Register by his side, took that kind of recreation which 
suits romantic and unromantic men after dinner. He sipt Madeira : built 
castles in the air : thought himself a fine fellow : felt himseb much more 
in love with Jane than he had been any time these seven years, during 
which their liaison had lasted without the slightest impatience on Pitt's 
part — and slept a good deal. "When the time for coffee came, Mr. Bowls 
used to enter in a noisy manner, and summon Squire Pitt, who would be 
found in the dark very busy with his pamphlet. 

" I wish, my love, I could get somebody to play picquet with me," 
Miss Crawley said, one night, when this functionary made his appearance 
with the candles and the coffee. "Poor Briggs can no more play than an 
owl, she is so stupid" (the spinster always took an opportunity of abusing 
Briggs before the servants) ; " and I think I shoidd sleep better if I had 
my game." 

At this Lady Jane blushed to the tips of her little ears, and down to the 
ends of her pretty fingers ; and when Mr. Bowls had quitted the room, 
and the door was quite shut, she said : 

" Miss Crawley, I can play a little. I used to — to play a little with 
poor dear papa." 

" Come and kiss me. Come and kiss me this instant, you dear good 
little soul," cried Miss Crawley in an ecstacy ; and in this picturesque and 
friendly occupation Mr. Pitt found the old lady and the young one, when 
he came up-stairs with his pamphlet in his hand. How she did blush all 
the evening, that poor Lady Jane ! 

It must not be imagined that Mr. Pitt Crawley's artifices escaped the 
attention of his dear relations at the Rectory at Queen's Crawley. Hamp- 



A NOVEL ^WITHOUT A HERO. 301 

shire and Sussex lie very close together, and Mrs. Bute had friends in the 
latter county who took care to inform her of all, and a great deal more 
than all, that passed at Miss Crawley's house at Brighton. Pitt was there 
more and more. He did not come for months together to the Hall, where 
his abominable old father abandoned himself completely to rum and water, 
and the odious society of the Horrocks family. Pitt's success rendered 
the Hector's family furious, and Mrs. Bute regretted more (though she 
confessed less) than ever her monstrous fault in so insulting Miss Briggs, 
and in being so haughty and parsimonious to Bowls and Firkin, that 
she had not a single person left in Miss Crawley's household to give her 
information of what took place there. " It was all Bute's collar-bone," 
she persisted in saying ; " if that had not broke, I never would have left 
her. I am a martyr to duty and to your odious unclerical habit of 
hunting, Bute." 

" Hunting ; nonsense ! It was you that frightened her, Barbara," the 
divine interposed. " You're a clever woman, but you 've got a devil of a 
temper ; and you're a screw with your money, Barbara." 

" You 'd have been screwed in gaol, Bute, if I had not kept your 
money." 

" I know I woidd, my dear," said the Bector, good-naturedly. " You 
are a clever woman, but you manage too well, you know :" and the pious 
man consoled himself with a big glass of port. 

"What the deuce can she find in that spoony of a Pitt Crawley?" he 
continued. " The fellow has not pluck enough to say Bo to a goose. 
I remember when Bawdon, who is a man and be hanged to him, used to 
flog him round the stables as if he was a whipping-top : and Pitt would go 
howling home to his ma — ha, ha ! Why, either of my boys woidd wap 
him with one hand. Jim says he's remembered at Oxford as Miss Crawley 
still — the spooney." 

" I say, Barbara," his reverence continued, after a pause. 

"What!" said Barbara, who was biting her nails, and drubbing the 
table. 

" I say, why not send Jim over to Brighton to see if he can do any 
thing with the old lady. He's very near getting his degree, you know. 
He's only been plucked twice — so was I — but he's had the advantages of 
Oxford and a university education. He knows some of the best chaps 
there. He pulls stroke in the Boniface boat. He's a handsome feller. 
D — it, ma'am, let's put him on the old woman, hey; and tell him to 
thrash Pitt if he says any think. Ha, ha, ha ! " 

"Jim might go down and see her, certainly," the housewife said; 
adding, with a sigh, "If we coidd but get one of the girls into the house; 
but she could never endure them, because they are not pretty ! " Those 
unfortunate and well-educated women made themselves heard from the 
neighbouring drawing-room, where they were thrumming away, with hard 
fingers, an elaborate music-piece on the piano-forte, as their mother spoke ; 
and indeed they were at music, or at backboard, or at geography, or at 
history, the whole day long. But what avail all these accomplishments, in 
Vanity Fair, to girls who are short, poor, plain, and have a bad complexion? 
Mrs. Bute could think of nobody but the Curate to take one of them off 



302 VANITY FAIE. 



her hands ; and Jim coming in from the stable at this minute, through 
the parlour window, with a short pipe stuck in his oil-skin cap, he and his 
father fell to talking about odds on the St. Leger, and the colloquy between 
the Hector and his wife ended. 

Mrs. Bute did not argue much good to the cause from the sending of 
her son James as an ambassador, and saw him depart in rather a despairing 
mood. Nor did the young fellow himself, when told what his mission was 
to be, expect much pleasure or benefit from it ; but he was consoled by 
the thought that possibly the old lady would give him some handsome 
remembrance of her, which would pay a few of his most pressing bills at 
the commencement of the ensuing Oxford term, and so took his place by 
the coach from Southampton, and was safely landed at Brighton on the same 
evening, with his portmanteau, his favourite bull-dog Towzer, and an 
immense basket of farm and garden produce, from the dear Eectory folks 
to the dear Miss Crawley. Considering it was too late to disturb the 
invalid lady on the first night of his arrival, he put up at an inn, and 
did not wait upon Miss Crawley until a late hour in the noon of next day. 

James Crawley, when his aunt had last beheld him, was a gawky lad, at 
that uncomfortable age when the voice varies between an unearthly treble 
and a preternatural base ; when the face not uncommonly blooms out with 
appearances for which Bowland's Kalydor is said to act as a cure ; when 
boys are seen to shave furtively with their sister's scissors, and the sight 
of other young women produces intolerable sensations of terror in them ; 
when the great hands and ankles protrude a long way from garments which 
have grown too tight for them ; when their presence after dinner is at once 
frightful to the ladies, who are whispering in the twilight in the drawing- 
room, and inexpressibly odious to the gentlemen over the mahogany, who 
are restrained from freedom of intercourse and delightful interchange of 
wit by the presence of that gawky innocence ; when, at the conclusion of 
the second glass, papas say, " Jack, my boy, go out and see if the evening 
holds up," and the youth, willing to be free, yet hurt at not being yet a 
man, quits the incomplete banquet. James, then a hobbadehoy, was now 
become a young man, having had the benefits of a university education, 
and acquired the inestimable polish, which is gained by living in a fast set 
at a small college, and contracting debts, and being rusticated, and being 
plucked. 

He was a handsome lad, however, when he came to present himself to 
his aunt at Brighton, and good looks were always a title to the fickle old 
lady's favour. Nor did his blushes and awkwardness take away from it : 
she was pleased with these healthy tokens of the young gentleman's 
ingenuousness. 

He said " he had come down for a couple oLdays to see a man of his 
college, and — and to pay my respects to you, Ma'am, and my father's and 
mother's, who hope you are well." 

Pitt was in the room with Miss Crawley when the lad was announced, 
and looked very blank when his name was mentioned. The* old lady had 
plenty of humour, and enjoyed her correct nephew's perplexity. She 
asked after all the people at the Eectory with great interest ; and said she 
was thinking of pavinoj them a visit. She praised the lad to his face, and 



A NOV.EL WITHOUT A HERO. 303 

said he was well-grown and very much improved, and that it was a pity 
his sisters had not some of his good looks ; and finding, on inquiry, that 
he had taken up his quarters at an hotel, would not hear of his stopping 
there, but bade Mr. Bowls send for Mr. James Crawley's things instantly; 
"and hark ye, Bowls," she added, with great graciousness, "you will 
have the goodness to pay Mr. James's bill." 

She flung Pitt a look of arch triumph, which caused that diplomatist 
almost to choke with envy. Much as he had ingratiated himself with his 
aunt, she had never yet invited him to stay under her roof, and here was 
a young whipper-snapper, who at 'first sight was made welcome there. 

"I beg your pardon, Sir," says Bowls, advancing with a profound 
bow ; " what otel, Sir, shall Thomas fetch the luggage from ? " 

" 0, dam," said young James, starting up, as if in some alarm, 
"I '11 go." 

"What !" said Miss Crawley. 

"The Tom Cribb's Arms," said James, blushing deeply. 

Miss Crawley burst out laughing at this title. Mr. Bowls gave one 
abrupt guffaw, as a confidential servant of the family, but choked the rest 
of the volley ; the diplomatist only smiled. 

" I — I didn't know any better," said James, looking down. " I 've never 
been here before ; it was the coachman told me." The young story- 
teller ! The fact is, that on the Southampton coach, the day previous, 
James Crawley had met the Tutbury Pet, who was coming to Brighton to 
make a match with the Rottingdean Pibber ; and enchanted by the Pet's 
conversation, had passed the evening in company with that scientific man 
and his friends, at the inn in question. 

" I — I 'd best go and settle the score," James continued. " Couldn 't 
think of asking you, Ma'am," he added, generously. 

This delicacy made his aunt laugh the more. 

" Go and settle the bill, Bowls," she said, with a wave of her hand, 
" and bring it to me." 

Poor lady, she did not know what she had done ! " There — there 's a 
little daicg" said James, looking frightfully guilty. "I'd best go for him. 
He bites footmen's calves." 

All the party cried out with laughing at this description ; even Briggs 
and Lady Jane, who was sitting mute during the interview between Miss 
Crawley and her nephew ; and Bowls, without a word, quitted the room. 

Still, by way of punishing her elder nephew, Miss Crawley persisted in 
being gracious to the young Oxonian. There were no limits to her kind- 
ness or her compliments when they once began. She told Pitt he might 
come to dinner, and insisted that James should accompany her in her drive, 
and paraded him solemnly up and down the cliff, on the back seat of the 
barouche. During all this excursion, she condescended to say civil things 
to him : she quoted Italian and Prench poetry to the poor bewildered 
lad, and persisted that he was a fine scholar, and was perfectly sure he 
would gain a gold medal, and be a Senior Wrangler. 

"Haw, haw," laughed James, encouraged by these components ; 
"Senior Wrangler, indeed; that's at the other shop." 

"What is the other shop, my dear child?" said the lady. 



304 VANITY FAIK. 



" Senior Wranglers at Cambridge, not Oxford," said the scholar, with a 
knowing air ; and would probably nave been more confidential, but that 
suddenly there appeared on the cliff in a tax-cart, drawn by a bang-up pony, 
dressed in white flannel coats, with mother-of-pearl buttons, his friends 
the Tutbury Pet and the Hottingdean Fibber, with three other gentlemen 
of their acquaintance, who all saluted poor James there in the carriage as 
he sate. This incident damped the ingenuous youth's spirits, and no word 
of yea or nay could he be induced to utter during the rest of the drive. 

On his return he found Ms room prepared, and his portmanteau ready, 
and might have remarked that Mr. Bowls's countenance, when the latter 
conducted him to his apartment, wore a look of gravity, wonder, and 
compassion. But the thought of Mr. Bowls did not enter Ms head. He 
was deploring the dreadful predicament in which he found Mmself, in a 
house full of old women, jabbering French and ItaHan, and talking poetry 
to Mm. " Eeglarly up a tree, by jingo ! " exclaimed the modest boy, who 
could not face the gentlest of her sex — not even Briggs — when she began 
to talk to him ; whereas, put him at Iffley Lock, and he could out-slang 
the boldest bargeman. 

At dinner, James appeared choking in a wMte neckcloth, and had the 
honour of handing my Lady Jane down stairs, while Briggs and Mr. 
Crawley followed afterwards, conducting the old lady, with her apparatus 
of bundles, and shawls, and cusMons. Half of Briggs's time at dinner 
was spent in superintending the invalid's comfort, and in cutting up 
chicken for her fat spaniel. James did not talk much, but he made a point 
of asking all the ladies to drmk wine, and accepted Mr. Crawley's chal- 
lenge, and consumed the greater part of a bottle of champagne which Mr. 
Bowls was ordered to produce in his honour. The ladies having with- 
drawn, and the two cousins being left together, Pitt, the ex-diplomatist, 
became very communicative and friendly. He asked after James's career 
at college — what Ms prospects in life were — hoped heartily he would get 
on ; and, in a word, was frank and amiable. James's tongue unloosed 
with the Port, and he told his cousin his life, his prospects, Ms debts, his 
troubles at the little-go, and his rows with the proctors, filling rapidly 
from the bottles before Mm, and flying from Port to Madeira with joyous 
activity. 

" The chief pleasure which my aunt has," said Mr. Crawley, filling his 
glass, " is that people should do as they like in her house. This is Liberty 
Hall, James, and you can't do Miss Crawley a greater kindness than to do 
as you please, and ask for what you will. I know you have all sneered at 
me in the country for being a Tory. Miss Crawley is liberal enough to 
sMt any fancy. She is a Republican in prmciple, and despises everything 
like rank or title." 

"Why are you going to marry an Earl's daughter ?" said James. 

" My dear friend, remember it is not poor Lady Jane's fault that she is 
well born," Pitt replied with a courtly air. " She cannot help being a 
lady. Besides, I am a Tory, you know." 

" as for that," said Jim, " there 's nothing like old blood ; no, dammy, 
notMng bke it. I 'm none of your radicals. I know what it is to be a 
gentleman, dammy. See the chaps in a boat-race ; look at the fellers in a 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 305 

fight; aye, look at a dawg killing rats, — which is it wins? the good 
blooded ones. Get some more port, Bowls, old boy, whilst I buzz this 
bottle here. What was I a saying?" 

" I think you were speaking of dogs killing rats," Pitt remarked mildly, 
handing his cousin the decanter to buzz. 

" Killing rats was I? Well, Pitt, are you a sporting mau? Do yon 
want to see a dawg as can kill a rat? If you do, come down with me to 
Tom Corduroy's, in Castle Street Mews, and I '11 show you such a bull- 
terrier as — " 

" Pooh ! gammon," cried James, bursting out laughing at his own 
absurdity, — "you don't care about a dawg or a rat; it 's all nonsense. 
I'm blest if I think you know the difference between a dog and a duck." 

"No; by the way," Pitt continued with increased blandness, "it was 
about blood you were talking, and the personal advantages which people 
derive from patrician birth. Here 's the fresh bottle." 

" Blood's the word," said James, gidping the ruby fluid down. "Nothing 
like blood, Sir, in hosses, dawgs, mid men. Why only last term, just 
before I was rusticated, that is, I mean just before I had the measles, 
ha, ha, — there was me and Kingwood of Christchurch, Bob Eing- 
wood, Lord Cinqbar's son, having our beer at the Bell at Blenheim, when 
the Banbury bargeman offered to fight either of us for a bowl of punch. 
I couldn't. My arm was in a sling ; couldn't even take, the drag down, — 
a brute of a mare of mine had fell with me only two days before, out with 
the Abingdon, and I thought my arm was broke. Well, Sir, I couldn't 
finish him, but Bob had his coat off at once — he stood up to the Banbury 
man for three minutes, and polished him off in four rounds easy. Gad, 
how he did drop, Sir, and what was it? Blood, Sir, all blood." 

" You don't drink, James," the ex-attache continued. " In my time, 
at Oxford, the men passed round the bottle a Uttle quicker than you young 
fellows seem to do." 

" Come, come," said James, putting his hand to his nose and winking 
at his cousin with a pair of vinous eyes, " no jokes, old boy ; no trying it 
on on me. You want to trot me out, but it 's no go. In vino Veritas, old 
boy. Mars, Bacchus, Apollo virorum, hay ? I wish my aunt would send 
down some of this to the governor ; it's a precious good tap." 

* You had better ask her," Machiavel continued, "or make the best of 
your time now. What says the bard, 'Nunc vino pellite curas Cras 
ingens iterabimus sequor,' " and the Bacchanaban quoting the above with 
a House of Commons air, tossed off nearly a thimblefull of wine with 
an immense flourish of his glass. 

At the Bectory, when the bottle of port wine was opened after dinner, the 
young ladies had each a glass from a bottle of currant wine. Mrs. Bute 
took one glass of port, honest James had a couple commonly, but as his 
father grew very sulky if he made further inroads on the bottle, the good 
lad generally refrained from trying for more, and subsided either into the 
currant wine, or to some private gin-and-water in the stables, which he 
enjoyed in the company of the coachman and his pipe. At Oxford, the 
quantity of wine was unlimited, but the quality was inferior : but when 
quantity and quality united, as at his aunt's house, James showed that he 

x 



306 VANITY FAIR. 



could appreciate them indeed; and hardly needed any of his cousin's 
encouragement in draining off the second bottle supplied by Mr. Bowls. 

When the time for coffee came, however, and for a return to the ladies, 
of whom he stood in awe, the young gentleman's agreeable frankness left 
him, and he relapsed into his usual surly timidity : contenting himself by 
saying yes and no, by scowling at Lady Jane, and by upsetting one cup of 
coffee during the evening. 

If he did not speak he yawned in a pitiable manner, and his presence 
threw a damp upon the modest proceedings of the evening, for Miss 
Crawley and Lady Jane at their piquet, and Miss Briggs at her work, felt 
that his eyes were wildly fixed on them, and were uneasy under that 
maudlin look. 

" He seems a very silent, awkward, bashful lad," said Miss Crawley to 
Mr. Pitt. 

" He is more communicative in men's society than with ladies," Machia- 
vel dryly replied : perhaps rather disappointed that the port wine had not 
made Jim speak more. 

He had spent the early part of the next morning in writing home to 
his mother a most flourishing account of his reception by Miss Crawley. 
But ah ! he little knew what evils the day was bringing for him, and how 
short his reign of favour was destined to be. A circumstance which Jim 
had forgotten — a trivial but fatal circumstance — had taken place at the 
Cribb's Arms on the night before he had come to his aunt's house. It 
was no other than this — Jim, who was always of a generous disposition, 
and when in his cups especially hospitable, had in the course of the night 
treated the Tutbury champion and the Boltingdean man, and their friends, 
twice or thrice to the refreshment of gin-and-water — so that no less than 
eighteen glasses of that fluid at eight-pence per glass were charged in 
Mr. James Crawley's bill. It was not the amount of eight-pences, but 
the quantity of gin which told fatally against poor James's character, when 
his aunt's butler, Mr. Bowls, went down at his mistress's request to pay 
the young gentleman's bill. The landlord, fearing lest the account shoidd 
be refused altogether, swore solemnly that the young gent had consumed 
personally every farthing's worth of the liquor : and Bowls paid the bill 
finally, and showed it on his return home to Mrs. Pirkin, who was 
shocked at the frightful prodigality of gin ; and took the bill to Miss 
Briggs as accountant-general ; who thought it her duty to mention the 
circumstance to her principal, Miss Crawley. 

Had he drunk a dozen bottles of claret the old spinster could have 
pardoned him. Mr. Pox and Mr. Sheridan drank claret. Gentlemen 
drank claret. But eighteen glasses of gin consumed among boxers in an 
ignoble pot-house — it was an odious crime and not to be pardoned readily. 
Everything went against the lad : he came home perfumed from the 
stables, whither he had been to pay his dog Towzer a visit — and whence 
he was going to take his friend out for an airing, when he met Miss Crawley 
and her wheezy Blenheim spaniel, which Towzer would have eaten up 
had not the Blenheim fled squealing to the protection of Miss Briggs, 



while the atrocious master of the bull-dog stood laughing at the horrible 
persecution. 



■ ;: 




/ / / 



A XOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 307 

This day too the unlucky boy's modesty had likewise forsaken him. 
He was lively and facetious at dinner. During the repast he levelled one 
or two jokes against Pitt Crawley : he drank as much wine as upon the 
previous day : and going quite unsuspiciously to the drawing-room began 
to entertain the ladies there with some choice Oxford stories. He described 
the different pugilistic qualities of Molyneux and Dutch Sam, offered 
playfully to give Lady Jane the odds upon the Tutbury Pet against the 
Piottingdean man, or take them, as her Ladyship chose : and crowned the 
pleasantry by proposing to back himself against his cousin Pitt Crawley, 
either with or without the gloves. " And that 's a fair offer, my buck," he 
said, with a loud laugh, slapping Pitt on the shoulder, " and my father 
told me to make it too, and he '11 go halves in the bet, ha ha ! " So 
saying, the engaging youth nodded knowingly at poor Miss Briggs, and 
pointed his thumb over his shoulder at Pitt Crawley in a jocular and 
exulting manner. 

Pitt was not pleased altogether perhaps, but still not unhappy in the 
main. Poor Jim had his laugh out : and staggered across the room with 
his aimt's candle, when the old lady moved to retire, and offered to salute 
her with the blandest tipsy smile: and he took his own leave" and went up- 
stairs to his bed-room perfectly satisfied with himself, and with a pleased 
notion that his aunt's money would be left to him in preference to his 
father and all the rest of his family. 

Once up in the bed-room, one would have thought he could not make 
matters worse ; and yet this unlucky boy did. The moon was shining 
very pleasantly out on the sea, and Jim, attracted to the window by the 
romantic appearance of the ocean and the heavens, thought he would 
farther enjoy them while smoking. Nobody would smell the tobacco, 
he thought, if he cunningly opened the window and kept his head and 
pipe in the fresh air. This he did : but being in an excited state, poor 
Jim had forgotten that his door was open all this time, so that the breeze 
blowing inwards and a fine thorough draft being established, the clouds of 
tobacco were carried down-stairs, and arrived with quite undiminished 
fragrance to Miss Crawley and Miss Briggs. 

That pipe of tobacco finished the business : and the Bute-Crawleys 
never knew how many thousand pounds it cost them. Firkin rushed down- 
stairs to Bowls who was reading out the " Fire and the Frying Pan " to 
his aide-de-camp in a loud and ghostly voice. The dreadful secret was 
told to him by Firkin with so frightened a look, that for the first moment 
Mr. Bowls and his young man thought that robbers were in the house ; 
the legs of whom had probably been discovered by the woman under Miss 
Crawley's bed. When made aware of the fact however — to rush up-stairs 
at three steps at a time — to enter the unconscious James's apartment, 
calling out, " Mr. James," in a voice stifled with alarm, and to cry "For 
Gawd's sake, Sir, stop that 'are pipe," was the work of a minute with 
Mr. Bowls. " O, Mr. James, what 'ave you done," he said in a voice of 
the deepest pathos, as he threw the implement out of the window. " What 
'ave you done, Sir ; Misses can't abide 'em." 

" Missis needn't smoke," said James with a frantic misplaced laugh, 
and thought the whole matter an excellent joke. But his feelings were 

x 2 



308, 



VAKITY FAIR. 



very different in the morning, when Mr. Bowls's young man, who operated 
upon Mr. James's hoots, and Drought him his hot water to shave that 




beard which he was so anxiously expecting, handed a note into Mr. James 
in bed, in the handwriting of Miss Briggs. 

" Dear Sir," it said, " Miss Crawley has passed an exceedingly dis- 
turbed night, owing to the shocking manner in which the house has been 
polluted by tobacco ; Miss Crawley bids me say she regrets that she is too 
unwell to see you before you go — and above aD, that she ever induced you 
to remove from the ale-house, where she is sure you will be much more 
comfortable during the rest of your stay at Brighton." 

And herewith honest James's career as a candidate for his aunt's favour 
ended. He had in fact, and without knowing it, done what he menaced 
to do. He had fought his cousin Pitt with the gloves. 

Where meanwhile was he who had been once first favourite for this race 
for money ? Becky and Bawdon, as we have seen, were come together 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 309 

after Waterloo, and were passing the winter of 1815 at Paris in great 
splendour and gaiety. Bebecca was a good economist, and the price 
poor Jos Osborne had paid for her two horses was in itself sufficient to 
keep their little establishment afloat for a year, at the least ; there was no 
occasion to turn into money " my pistols, the same which I shot Captain 
Marker," or the gold dressing-case, or the cloak lined with sable. Becky 
had it made into a pelisse for herself, in which she rode in the Bois de 
Boulogne to the admiration of all : and you should hare seen the scene 
between her and her delighted husband, whom she rejoined after the army 
had entered Cambray, and when she unsewed herself, and let out of her dress 
all those watches, knicknacks, bank-notes, checks, and valuables, which 
she had secreted in the wadding, previous to her meditated flight from 
Brussells ! Tufto was charmed, and Bawdon roared with delightful 
laughter, and swore that she was better than any play he ever saw, by 
Jove. And the way in which she jockied Jos, and which she described 
with infinite fun, earned up his delight to a pitch of quite insane enthu- 
siasm. He believed in his wife as much as the French soldiers in 
Xapoleon. 

Her success in Paris was remarkable. All the French ladies voted her 
charming. She spoke their language admirably. She adopted at once 
their grace, their liveliness, their manner. Her husband was stupid cer- 
tainly — all English are stupid — and, besides, a dull husband at Paris is 
always a point in a lady's favour. He was the heir of the rich and 
spirituelle Miss Crawley, whose house had been open to so many of the 
French noblesse during the emigration. They received the Colonel's wife 
in their own hotels — "Why," wrote a great lady to Miss Crawley, who had 
bought her lace and trinkets at the Duchess's own price, and given her 
many a dinner during the pinching times after the Bevolution — " Why 
does not our dear Miss come to her nephew and niece, and her attached 
friends in Paris ? All the world raffoles of the charming Mistress and her 
espieffle beauty. Yes, we see in her the grace, the charm, the wit of our 
dear friend Miss Crawley ! The King took notice of her yesterday at the 
Tuilleries, and we are all jealous of the attention which Monsieur pays her. 
If you could have seen the spite of a certain stupid Miladi Bareacres, 
(whose eagle-beak and toque and feathers may be seen peering over the 
heads of all assemblies) when Madame, the Duchess of Angouleme, the 
august daughter and companion of kings, desired especially to be presented 
to Mrs. Crawley, as your dear daughter an&protegee, and thanked her in the 
name of France, for all your benevolence towards our unfortunates during 
their exile ! She is of all the societies, of all the balls — of the balls — yes — of 
the dances, no ; and yet how interesting and pretty this fair creature looks 
surrounded by the homage of the men, and so soon to be a mother ! To hear 
her speak of you, her protectress, her mother, would bring tears to the eyes 
of ogres. How she loves you ! how we all love our admirable, our respect- 
able Miss Crawley !" 

It is to be feared that this letter of the Parisian great lady did not by 
any means advance Mrs. Becky's interest with her admirable, her respect- 
able, relative. On the contrary, the fury of the old spinster was beyond 
bounds, when she found what was Bebecca's situation, and how auda- 



310 VANITY FATE. 



ciously she had made use of Miss Crawley's name, to get an entree into 
Parisian society. Too much shaken in mind and body to compose a letter 
in the French language in reply to that of her correspondent, she dictated 
to Briggs a furious answer in her own native tongue, repudiating Mrs. 
Bawdon Crawley altogether, and warning the public to beware of her as 
a most artful and dangerous person. But as Madame the Duchess of 
X — had only been twenty years in England, she did not understand a 
single word of the language, and contented herself by informing Mrs. 
Bawdon Crawley at their next meeting, that she had received a charming 
letter from that cliere Mees, and that it was full of benevolent things for 
Mrs. Crawley, who began seriously to have hopes that the spinster would 
relent. 

Meanwhile, she was the gayest and most admired of Englishwomen : and 
had a little European congress on her reception-night — Prussians and Cos- 
sacks, Spaniards and English — all the world was at Paris during this famous 
winter : to have seen the stars and cordons in Bebecca's humble saloon 
would have made all Baker Street pale with envy. Eamous warriors rode 
by her carriage in the Bois, or crowded her modest little box at the Opera. 
Bawdon was in the highest spirits. There were no duns in Paris as yet : 
there were parties every day at Yery's or Beauvilliers' ; play was plentiful 
and his luck good. Tufto perhaps was sulky. Mrs. Tufto had come 
over to Paris at her own invitation, and besides this contretemps, there 
were a score of generals now round Becky's chair, and she might take her 
choice of a dozen bouquets when she went to the play. Lady Bareacres 
and the chiefs of the English society, stupid and irreproachable females, 
writhed with anguish at the success of the little upstart Becky, whose 
poisoned jokes quivered and rankled in their chaste breasts. But she had 
all the men on her side. She fought the women with indomitable courage, 
and they could not talk scandal in any tongue but their own. 

So in fetes, pleasures, and prosperity, the winter of 1815-16 passed 
away with Mrs. Bawdon Crawley, who accommodated herself to polite life 
as if her ancestors had been people of fashion for centuries past — and 
who from her wit, talent, and energy, indeed merited a place of honour 
in Vanity Pair. In the early spring of I SI 6, Galignani's Journal con- 
tained the following announcement in an interesting corner of the paper : 
" On the 26th of March — the Lady of Lieutenant-Colonel Crawley, of — 
Life Guards Green — of a son and heir." 

This event was copied into the London papers, out of which Miss 
Briggs read the statement to Miss Crawley, at breakfast, at Brighton. 
The intelligence, expected as it might have been, caused a crisis in the 
affairs of the Crawley family. The spinster's rage rose to its height, 
and sending instantly for Pitt, her nephew, and for the Lady Southdown, 
from Brunswick Square, she requested an immediate celebration of the 
marriage which had been so long pending between the two families. 
And she announced that it was her intention to allow the young couple a 
thousand a year during her lifetime, at the expiration of which the bulk 
of her property would be settled upon her nephew and her dear niece, 
Lady Jane Crawley. Waxy came down to ratify the deeds — Lord 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 311 

Southdown gave away his sister — she was married by a Bishop, and not 
by the Rev. Bartholomew Irons — to the disappointment of the irregular 
prelate. 

"When they were married — Pitt would have liked to take a hymeneal tour 
with his bride, as became people of their condition. But the affection of 
the old lady towards Lady Jane had grown so strong, that she fairly 
owned she could not part with her favourite. Pitt and his wife came 
therefore, and lived with Miss Crawley : and (greatly to the annoyance of 
poor Pitt, who conceived himself a most injured character — being subject 
to the humours of his aunt on one side and of his mother-in-law on the 
other,) Lady Southdown, from her neighbouring house, reigned over the 
whole family — Pitt, Lady Jane, Miss Crawley, Briggs, Bowls, Firkin, and 
all. She pitilessly dosed them with her tracts and her medicine : she 
dismissed Creamer, she installed Bodgers, and soon stripped Miss Crawley 
of even the semblance of authority. The poor soul grew so timid that 
she actually left off bullying Briggs any more, and clung to her niece, 
more fond and more terrified every day. Peace to thee, kind and selfish, 
vain and generous old heathen ! — We shall see thee no more. Let us 
hope that Lady Jane supported her kindly, and led her with gentle hand 
o\it of the busy struggle of Vanity Fair. 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 



WIDOW AND MOTHER. 




HE news of the great fight of 
Quatre Bras and Waterloo 
reached England at the same 
time. The Gazette first pub- 
lished the result of the two 
battles ; at which glorious in- 
telligence all England thrilled 
with triumph and fear. Par- 
ticulars then followed ; and 
after the announcement of the 
victories came the list of the 
wounded and the slain. Who 
can tell the dread with which 
that catalogue was opened and 
read ! Eancy, at every village 
and homestead almost through 
the three kingdoms, the great 
news coming of the battles of 
Elanders, and the feelings of exultation and gratitude, bereavement and 
sickening dismay, when the Lists of the regimental losses were gone 
through, and it became known whether the dear friend and relative 
had escaped or had fallen. Anybody who will take the trouble of 
looking back to a file of the newspapers of the time, must, even now, 
feel at second-hand this breathless pause of expectation. The list of 
casualties are carried on from day to day : you stop in the midst as in a 
story which is to be continued in our next. Think what the feelings must 
have been as those papers followed each other fresh from the press ; and if 
such an interest could be felt in our country, and about a battle where but 
twenty thousand of our people were engaged, think of the condition of 
Europe for twenty years before, where people were fighting, not by thou- 
sands, but by millions ; each one of whom as he struck his enemy wounded 
horribly some other innocent heart far away. 

The news which that famous Gazette brought to the Osbornes gave a 
dreadfid shock to the family and its chief. The girls indulged unrestrained 
in their grief. The gloom-stricken old father was still more borne down 
by his fate and sorrow. He strove to think that a judgment was on the 
boy for his disobedience. He dared not own that the severity of the 
sentence frightened him, and that its fulfilment had come too soon upon 
his curses. Sometimes a shuddering terror struck him, as if he had been 
the author of the doom which he had called down on his son. There was 






A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 313 

chance before of reconciliation. The boy's wife might have died ; or he 
might have come back and said, Father I have sinned. But there was no 
hope now. He stood on the other side of the gulf impassable, haunting 
his parent with sad eyes. . He remembered them once before so in a fever, 
when every one thought the lad was dying, and he lay on his bed speech- 
less, and gazing with a dreadful gloom. Good God ! how the father clung 
to the doctor then ; and with what a sickening anxiety he followed him : 
what a weight of grief was off his mind when, after the crisis of the fever, 
the lad recovered, and looked at his father once more with eyes that recog- 
nized him. But now there was no help or cure, or chance of reconcile- 
ment : above all, there were no humble words to soothe vanity outraged 
and furious, or bring to its natural flow the poisoned, angry blood. And 
it is hard to say which pang it was tore, the proud father's heart most 
keenly — that his son should have gone out of the reach of his forgive- 
ness, or that the apology which his own pride expected should have 
escaped him. 

Whatever his sensations might have been, however, the stern old man 
would have no confidant. He never mentioned his son's name to his 
daughters ; but ordered the elder to place all the females of the establish- 
ment in mourning ; and desired that the male servants should be similarly 
attired in deep black. All parties and entertainments, of course, were to 
be put off. No communications were made to his future son-in-law, whose 
marriage-day had been fixed; but there was enough in Sir. Osborne's 
appearance to prevent Mr. Bullock from making any inquiries, or in any 
way pressing forward that' ceremony. He and the ladies whispered about 
it under their voices in the drawing-room sometimes, whither the father 
never came. He remained constantly in his own study ; the whole front 
part of the house being closed until some time after the completion of the 
general mourning. 

About three weeks after the 18th of June, Mr. Osborne's acquaintance, 
Sir William Dobbin, called at Mr. Osborne's house in Russell Square, with 
a very pale and agitated face, and insisted upon seeing that gentleman. 
Ushered into his room, and after a few words, which neither the speaker 
nor the host understood, the former produced from an inclosure a letter 
sealed with a large red seal. " My son, Major Dobbin," the Alderman 
said, with some hesitation, " dispatched me a letter by an officer of the 
— th, who arrived in town to-day. My son's letter contains one for you, 
Osborne." The Alderman placed the letter on the table, and Osborne 
stared at him for a moment or two in silence. His looks frightened the 
ambassador, who, after looking guiltily for a little time at the grief-stricken 
man, hurried away without a farther word. 

The letter was in George's well-known bold hand-writing. It was that 
one which he had written before day-break on the 16th of June, and just 
before he took leave of Amelia. The great red seal was emblazoned with 
the sham coat of arms which Osborne had assumed from the Peerage, with 
" Pax in bello " for a motto ; that of the ducal house with which the vain 
old man tried to fancy himself connected. The hand that signed it would 
never hold pen or sword more. The very seal that sealed it had been 
robbed from George's dead body as it lay on the field of battle. The 



314 YANITY FAIR. 



father knew nothing of this, but sat and looked at the letter in terrified 
vacancy. He almost fell when he went to open it. 

Have you ever had a difference with a dear friend ? How his letters, 
written in the period of love and confidence, sieken and rebuke you! 
What a dreary mourning it is to dwell upon those vehement protests of 
dead affection ! What lying epitaphs they make over the eorpse of love ! 
What dark, cruel comments upon Life and Yanities ! Most of us have 
got or written drawers full of them. They are closet-skeletons which we 
keep and shun. Osborne trembled long, before the letter from his dead son. 
• The poor boy's letter did not say much. He had been too proud to 
acknowledge the tenderness which his heart felt. He only said, that on 
the eve of a great battle, he wished to bid his father farewell, and solemnly 
to implore his good offices for the wife — it might be for the child — whom 
he left behind him. He owned with eontrition that Ms irregularities and 
extravaganee had already wasted a large part of his mother's little fortune. 
He thanked his father for his former generous conduct ; and he promised 
him, that if he fell on the field or survived it, he would act in a manner 
worthy of the name of George Osborne. 

His English habit, pride, awkwardness perhaps, had prevented him 
from saying more. His father could not see the kiss George had placed on 
the superscription of his letter. Mr. Osborne dropped it with the bitterest, 
deadliest pang of balked affection and revenge. His son was still beloved 
and unforgiven. 

About two months afterwards however, as the young ladies of the 
family went to church with their father, they remarked how he took a 
different seat from that which he usually occupied when he chose to 
attend divine worship ; and that from his eushion opposite, he looked up 
at the wall over their heads. This caused the young women Likewise 
to gaze in the direction towards which the father's gloomy eyes pointed : 
and they saw an elaborate monument upon the wall, where Britannia was 
represented weeping over an urn, and a broken sword, and a couchant 
lion, indicated that the piece of sculpture had been erected in honour of a 
deceased warrior. The sculptors of those days had stocks of such funereal 
emblems in hand ; as you may see still on the walls of St. Paul's, which 
are covered with hundreds of these braggart heathen allegories. There 
was a constant demand for them during the first fifteen years of the 
present centuiy. 

Under the memorial in question were emblazoned the well known and 
pompous Osborne arms ; and the inscription said, that the monument was 
" Sacred to the memory of George Osborne, Junior, Esq., late a Captain 
in his Majesty's — th regiment of foot, who fell on the 18th of June, 1815, 
aged 28 years, while fighting for his king and country in the glorious 
vietory of Waterloo. Didce et decorum est pro patriot, mori." 

The sight of that stone agitated the nerves of the sisters so much, that 
Miss Maria was compelled to leave the ehurch. The congregation made 
way respectfully for those sobbing girls clothed in deep black, and pitied 
the stern old father seated opposite the memorial of the dead soldier. 
"Will he forgive Mrs. George?" the girls said to themselves as soon as 
their ebullition of grief was over. Much conversation passed too among 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEKO. 315 

the acquaintances of the Osborne family, who knew of the rupture between 
the son and father caused by the former's marriage, as to the chance of a 
reconciliation with the young widow. There were bets among the 
gentlemen both about Russell Square and in the City. 

If the sisters had any anxiety regarding the possible recognition of 
Amelia as a daughter of the family, it was increased presently, and towards 
the end of the autumn, by their father's announcement that he was going 
abroad. He did not say whither, but "they knew at once that his steps 
would be turned towards Belgium, and were aware that George's widow 
was still in Brussels. They had pretty accurate news indeed of poor 
Amelia from Lady Dobbin and her daughters. Our honest Captain had 
been promoted in consequence of the death of the second Major of the 
regiment on the field; and the brave O'Dowd, who had distinguished 
himself greatly here as upon all occasions where he had a chance to show 
his coolness and valour, was a Colonel and Companion of the Bath. 

Very many of the brave — th, who had suffered severely upon both days 
of action, were still at Brussels in the autumn, recovering of their wounds. 
The city was a vast military hospital for months after the great battles ; 
and as men and officers began to rally from their hurts, the gardens and 
places of public resort swarmed with maimed warriors old and young, 
who, just rescued out of death, fell to gambling, and gaiety, and love- 
making, as people of Vanity Fair will do. Sir. Osborne found out some 
of the — th easily. He knew their uniform quite well, and had been 
used to follow all the promotions and exchanges in the regiment, and 
loved to talk about it and its officers as if he had been one of the number. 
On the day after his arrival at Brussels, and as he issued from his hotel, 
which faced the park, he saw a soldier in the well-known facings, reposing 
on a stone-bench in the garden, and went and sate down trembling by the 
wounded convalescent man. 

" Were you in Captain Osborne's company ? " he said, and added, after 
a pause, "he was my son, Sir." 

The man was not of the Captain's company, but he lifted up his 
unwounded arm and touched his cap sadly and respectfully to the haggard 
broken-spirited gentleman who questioned him. " The whole army didn't 
contain a finer or a better officer," the soldier said. "The sergeant of 
the Captain's company (Captain Raymond had it now), was in town 
though, and was just well of a shot in the shoulder. His honour might 
see him if he liked, who could tell him anything he wanted to know about 
— about the — 's actions. But his honour had seen Major Dobbin no 
doubt, the brave Captain's great friend; and Mrs. Osborne, who was 
here too, and had been very bad, he heard everybody say. They say she 
was out of her mind like for six weeks or more. But your honour knows 
all about that — and asking your pardon " — the man added. 

Osborne put a guinea into the soldier's hand, and told him he should 
have another if he would bring the sergeant to the Hotel du Pare ; a 
promise which very soon brought the desired officer to Mr. Osborne's 
presence. And the first soldier went away ; and after telling a comrade 
or two how Captain Osborne's father was arrived, and what a free-handed 
generous gentleman he was, they went and made good cheer with drink 



316 VANITY FAIR. 



and feasting, as long as the guineas lasted which had come from the proud 
purse of the mourning old father. 

In the Serjeant's company, who was also just convalescent, Osborne 
made the journey of Waterloo and Quatre Bras, a journey which 
thousands of his countrymen were then taking. He took the Sergeant 
with him in his carriage, and went through both fields under his guidance. 
He saw the point of the road where the regiment marched into action 
on the 16th, and the slope down which they drove the French cavalry 
who were pressing on the retreating Belgians. There was the spot where 
the noble Captain cut down the French officer who was grappling with the 
young Ensign for the colours, the Colour-Sergeants having been shot 
down. Along this road they retreated on the next day, and here was the 
bank at which the regiment bivouacked under the rain of the night of the 
seventeenth. Further on was the position which they took and held during 
the day, forming time after time to receive the charge of the enemy's 
horsemen, and lying down under shelter of the bank from the furious 
French cannonade. And it was at this declivity when at evening the 
whole En gUsh hne received the order to advance, as the enemy fell back 
after his last charge, that the Captain hurraying and rushing down the 
hill waving his sword, received a shot and fell dead. " It was Major Dobbin 
who took back the Captain's body to Brussels," the Sergeant said, in a 
low voice, " and had him buried, as your Honour knows." The peasants 
and relic-hunters about the place were screaming round the pair, as the 
soldier told his story, offering for sale all sorts of mementoes of the fight, 
crosses, and epaulets, and shattered cuirasses, and eagles. 

Osborne gave a sumptuous reward to the Sergeant when he parted with 
him, after having visited the scenes of his son's last exploits. His burial 
place he had already seen. Indeed he had driven thither immediately 
after his arrival at Brussels. George's body lay in the pretty burial- 
ground of Lacken, near the city ; in which place, having once visited it on 
a party of pleasure, he had lightly expressed, a wish to have his grave 
made. And there the young officer was laid by his friend, in the uncon- 
secrated corner of the garden, separated by a little hedge from the temples 
and towns and plantations of flowers and shrubs, under which the Boman 
Catholic dead repose. It seemed a humiliation to old Osborne to think 
that his son, an English gentleman, a Captain in the famous British army, 
should not be found worthy to lie in ground where mere foreigners were 
buried. Which of us is there can tell how much vanity lurks in our 
warmest regard for others, and how selfish our love is ? -. Old Osborne 
did not speculate much upon the mingled nature of his feeKngs, and how 
his instinct and selfishness were combating together. He firmly bebeved 
that everything he did was right, that he ought on all occasions to have 
his own way — and bke the sting of a wasp or serpent his hatred rushed 
out armed and poisonous against anything like opposition. He was 
proud of his hatred as of everything else. Always to be right, always to 
trample forward, and never to doubt, are not these the great qualities with 
which dullness takes the lead in the world ? 

As after the drive to Waterloo, Mr. Osborne's carriage was nearing the 
gates of the city at sunset, they met another open barouche, in which 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 317 

were a couple of ladies and a gentleman, and by the side of which an 
officer was riding. Osborne gave a start back, and the Sergeant, seated 
with him cast a look of surprise at his neighbour, as he touched his cap 
to the officer, who mechanically returned his salute. It was Amelia, with 
the lame young Ensign by her side, and opposite to her her faithful friend 
Mrs. O'Dowd. It was Amelia, but how changed from the fresh and 
comely girl Osbome knew. Her face was white and thin. Her pretty 
brown hair was parted under a widow's cap — the poor child. Her eyes 
were fixed, and looking nowhere. They stared blank in the face of 
Osborne, as the carriages crossed each other, but she did not know him ; 
nor did he recognise her, until looking up, he saw Dobbin riding by her, 
and then he knew who it was. He hated her. He did not know how 
much until he saw her there. When her carriage had passed on, he 
turned and stared at the Sergeant, with a curse and defiance in his eye, 
cast at his companion, who could not help looking at him — as much 
as to say. " How dare you look at me ? Damn you : I do hate her. 
It is she who has tumbled my hopes and all my pride down." "Tell 
the scoundrel to drive on quick," he shouted with an oath, to the lackey 
on the box. A minute afterwards, a horse came clattering over the pave- 
ment behind Osborne's carriage, and Dobbin rode up. His thoughts .had 
been elsewhere as the carriages passed each other, and it was not until he 
had ridden some paces forward that he remembered it was Osborne who 
had just passed him. Then he turned to examine if the sight of her 
father-in-law had made any impression on Amelia, but the poor girl did 
not know who had passed. Then William, who daily used to accompany 
her in his drives, taking out his watch, made some excuse about an 
engagement which he suddenly recollected, and so rode off. She did not 
remark that either: but sate looking before her, over the homely landscape 
towards the woods in the distance, by which George marched away. 

"Mr. Osborne,- Mr. Osborne! " cried Dobbin, as he rode up and held 
out his hand. Osborne made no motion to take it, but shouted out once 
more and with another curse to his servant to drive on. 

Dobbin laid his hand on the carriage side. " I will see you, Sir," he 
said. " I have a message for you." 

" From that woman ? " said Osborne, fiercely. 

" No," replied the other, " from your son ; " at which Osborne fell back 
into the corner of his carriage, and Dobbin allowing it to pass on, rode 
close behind it, and so through the town until they reached Mi-. Osborne's 
hotel, and without a word. There he followed Osborne up .to his apart- 
ments. George had often been in the rooms; they were the lodgings 
which the Crawleys had occupied during their stay in Brussels. 

"Pray, have you any commands for me, Captain Dobbin, or, I beg 
your pardon, I should say Major Dobbin, since better men than you are 
dead, and you step into their shoes," said Mr. Osborne, in that sarcastic 
tone which he sometimes was pleased to assume. 

" Better men are dead," Dobbin replied. " I want to speak to you 
about one." 

" Make it short, Sir," . said the other with an oath, scowling at his 
visitor. 



318 VANITY FAIE. 



" I am here as his closest friend," the Major resumed, " and the 
executor of his will. He made it before we went into action. Are you 
aware how small his means are, and of the straitened circumstances of 
his widow ? " 

"I don't know his widow, Sir," Osborne said. "Let her go back to 
her father." But the gentleman whom he addressed was determined to 
remain in good temper, and went on without heeding the interruption. 

"Do you know, Sir, Mrs. Osborne's condition? Her life and her 
reason almost have been shaken by the blow which has fallen on her. It 
is very doubtful whether she will rally. There is a chance left for her 
however, and it is about this I came to speak to you. She will be a 
mother soon. Will you visit the parent's offence upon the child's head? 
or will you forgive the child for poor George's sake ? " 

Osborne broke out into a rhapsody of self-praise and imprecations. By 
the first, excusing himself to his own conscience for his conduct ; by the 
second, exaggerating the undutifulness of George. No father in all 
England could have behaved more generously to a son, who had rebelled 
against him wickedly. He had died without even so much as confessing 
he was wrong. Let him take the consequences of his undutifulness and 
folly. As for himself, Mr. Osborne, he was a man of his word. He 
had sworn never to speak to that woman or to recognise her as his son's 
wife. " And that 's what you may tell her," he concluded with an oath ; 
" and that 's what I will stick to to the last day of my life." 

There was no hope from that quarter then. The widow must live on 
her slender pittance, or on such aid as Jos could give her. " I might tell 
her, and she would not heed it," thought Dobbin sadly: for the poor 
gild's thoughts were not here at all since her catastrophe, and stupified 
under the pressure of her sorrow, good and evil were alike indifferent 
to her. So, indeed, were even friendship and kindness. She received 
them both uncomplainingly, and having accepted them, relapsed into 
her grief. 

Suppose some twelve months after the above conversation took place 
to have passed in the life of our poor AmeUa. She has spent the first 
portion of that time in a sorrow so profound and pitiable, that we who 
have been watching and describing some of the emotions of that weak 
and tender heart, must draw back in the presence of the cruel grief under 
which it is bleeding. Tread silently round the hapless couch of the poor 
prostrate soul. Shut gently the door of the dark chamber, wherein she 
suffers, as those kind people did who nursed her through the first months 
of her pain, -and never left her until heaven had sent her consolation. A 
day came — of almost terrified delight and wonder — when the poor widowed 
girl pressed a child upon her breast, — a child, with the eyes of George 
who was gone — a little boy, as beautiful as a cherub. What a miracle it 
was to hear its first cry ! How she laughed and wept over it — how love, 
and hope, and prayer woke again in her bosom as the baby nestled there. 
She was safe. The doctors who attended her, and had feared for her life 
or for her brain, had waited anxiously for this crisis before they could 
pronounce that either was secure. It was worth the long months of doubt 





~>{/f */-//: I Qs'u ?/<■// A '(/;??ss 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 319 

and dread which the persons, who had constantly been with her, had 
passed, to see her eyes once more beaming tenderly upon them. 

Our friend Dobbin was one of them. It was he who brought her back 
to England and to her mother's house ; when Mrs. O'Dowd, receiving a 
peremptory summons from her Colonel, had been forced to quit her 
patient. To see Dobbin holding the infant, and to hear Amelia's laugh of 
triumph as she watched him, would have done any man good who had a 
sense of humour. William was the godfather of the child, and exerted his 
ingenuity in the purchase of cups, spoons, pap-boats, and corals for this 
little Christian. 

How his mother nursed him, and dressed him, and lived upon him ; how 
she drove away all nurses, and would scarce allow any hand but her own 
to touch him ; how she considered that the greatest favour she could 
confer upon his godfather, Major Dobbin, was to allow the Major occa- 
sionally to dandle him, need not be told here. This child was her being. 
Her existence was a maternal caress. She enveloped the feeble and 
unconscious creature with love and worship. It was her life which the 
baby drank in from her bosom. Of nights, and Avhen alone, she had 
stealthy and intense raptures of motherly love, such as God's marvellous 
care has awarded to the female instinct — joys how far higher and lower 
than reason — blind beautiful devotions which only women's hearts know. 
It was "William Dobbin's task to muse upon these movements of Amelia's, 
and to watch her heart ; and if his love made him divine almost all the 
feelings which agitated it, alas ! he could see with a fatal perspicuity that 
there was no place there for him. And so, gently, he bore his fate, knowing 
it, and content to bear it. 

I suppose Amelia's father and mother saw through the intentions of the 
Major, and were not ill-disposed to encourage him ; for Dobbin visited 
their house daily, and stayed for hours with them, or with Amelia, or with 
the honest landlord, Mr. Clapp, and his family. He brought, on one 
pretext or another, presents to everybody, and almost every day ; and 
went with the landlord's little girl who was rather a favourite with 
Amelia, by the name of Major Sugarplums. It was this little child who 
commonly acted as mistress of the ceremonies to introduce him to Mrs. ' 
Osborne. She laughed one day when Major Sugarplums' cab drove up to 
Eulham, and he descended from it, bringing out a wooden horse, a drum, 
a trumpet, and other warlike toys, for little Georgy, who was scarcely six 
months old, and for whom the articles in question were entirely premature. 

The child was asleep. " Hush," said Amelia, annoyed, perhaps, at the 
creaking of the Major's boots; and she held out her hand ; smiling because 
William could not take it until he had rid himself of his cargo of toys. 
" Go down stairs, little Mary," said he presently to the child, " I want'to 
speak to Mrs. Osborne." She looked up rather 'astonished, and laid down 
the infant on its bed. 

" I am come to say good-bye, Amelia," said he, taking her slender little 
white hand gently. 

" Good-bye? and where are you going?" she said, with a smile. 

" Send the letters to the agents," he said; "they will forward them; 
for you will write to me, won't you ? I shall be away a long time." 



320 VANITY FAIR. 



" I '11 write to you about Georgy," she said. " Dear William, how good 
you have been to him and to me. Look at him ! Isn't he like an angel? 

The little pink hands of the child closed mechanically round the honest 
soldier's finger, and Amelia looked up in his face with bright maternal 
pleasure. The cruellest looks could not have wounded him more than that 
glance of hopeless kindness. He bent over the child and mother. He 
could not speak for a moment. And it was with all his strength that he 
could force himself to say a God bless you. "God bless you," said Amelia, 
and held up her face and kissed him. 

" Hush ! Dont wake Georgy !" she added, as William Dobbin went to 
the door with heavy steps. She did not hear the noise of his cab-wheels 
as he drove away : she was looking at the child, who was laughing in his 
sleep. 



CHAPTER XXXVI. 



HOW TO LIVE "WELL ON NOTHING A-YEAR. 

SUPPOSE there is no man in this 
Vanity Fair of ours so little 
observant as not to think some- 
times about the worldly affairs 
of his acquaintances, or so ex- 
tremely charitable as not to won- 
der how his neighbour Jones, 
or his neighbour Smith, can 
make both ends meet at the end 
of the year. "With the utmost 
regard for the family for instance, 
(for I dine; with them twice or 
-thrice in' a season,) I cannot but 
. own that the appearance of the 
Jenkinses in the Park, in the 
large barouche wdth the grenadier- 
footmen, will surprise and mystify 
me to my dying day : for though 
I know the equipage is only job- 
bed, and all the Jenkins people 
are on board-wages, yet those 
three men and the carriage must represent an expense of six hundred 
a-year at the very least — and then there are the splendid dinners, the 
two boys at Eton, the prize governess and masters for the girls, the 
trip abroad, or to Eastbourne or Worthing in the autumn, the annual 
ball with a supper from Gunter's (who, by the way, supplies most of the 
^first-rate dinners which J. gives, as I know very well, having been invited to 
one of them to fill a vacant place, when I saw at once that these repasts 
are very superior to the common run of entertainments for which the humbler 
sort of J.'s acquaintances get cards) — who, I say, with the most good- 
natured feelings in the world can help wondering how the Jenkinses make" 
out matters ? What is Jenkins ? — we all know — Commissioner of the Tape 
mid Sealing Wax Office, with £1200 a-year for a salary. Had his wife a 
private fortune ? Pooh ! — Miss Elint— one of eleven children of a small 
squire in Buckinghamshire. All she ever gets from her family is a turkey 
at Christmas, in exchange for which she has to board two or three of her 
sisters in the off season; and lodge and feed her brothers when they 
come to town. How does Jenkins balance his income ? I say, as every 
friend of his must say, How is it that he has not been outlawed long 

Y 




322 VANITY FAIR. 



since : and that lie ever came back (as he did to the surprise of everybody) 
last year from Boulogne ? 

" I." is here introduced to personify the world in general — the Mrs. 
Grundy of each respected reader's private circle — every one of whom can 
point to some families of his acquaintance who live nobody knows how. 
Many a glass of wine have we all of us drank, I have very little doubt, 
hob-and-nobbing with the hospitable giver, and wondering how the deuce 
he paid for it. 

Some three or four years after his stay in Paris, when Rawdon Crawley 
and his wife were established in a very small comfortable house in Curzon 
Street, Mayfair, there was scarcely one of the numerous friends whom they 
entertained at dinner that did not ask the above question regarding them. 
The novelist, it has been said before, knows everything, and as I am in 
a situation to be able to tell the public how Crawley and his wife lived 
without any income, may I entreat the public newspapers which are in the 
habit of extracting portions of the various periodical works now published, 
not to reprint the following exact narrative and calculations — of which I 
ought, as the discoverer, (and at some expense, too,) to have the benefit. 
My son, — I would say, were I blessed with a child — you may by deep 
inquiry and constant intercourse with him, learn how a man lives com- 
fortably on nothing a-year. But it is best not to be intimate with gentle- 
men of this profession, and to take the calculations at second-hand, as you 
do logarithms, for to work them yourself, depend upon it, will cost you 
something considerable. 

On nothing per annum then, and during a course of some two or three 
years, of which we can afford to give but a very brief history, Crawley 
and his wife lived very happily and comfortably at Paris. It was in this 
period that he quitted the Guards, and sold out of the army. When we 
find him again, his mustachios and the title of Colonel on his card are the 
only relics of his military profession. 

It has been mentioned that Rebecca, soon after her arrival in Paris, took 
a very smart and leading position in the society of that capital, and was 
welcomed at some of the most distinguished houses of the restored French 
nobility. The English men of fashion in Paris courted her, too, to the 
disgust of the ladies their wives, who could not bear the parvenue. Por 
some months the salons of the Paubourg St. Germain, in which her 
place was secured, and the splendours of the new Court, where she was 
received with much distinction, delighted, and perhaps a little intoxicated 
Mrs. Crawley, who may have been disposed during this period of elation 
to slight the people — honest young miUtary men mostly, — who formed 
her husband's chief society. 

But the Colonel yawned sadly among the duchesses and great ladies of 
the Court. The old women who played ecarte made such a noise about a 
five-franc piece, that it was not worth Colonel Crawley's while to sit down 
at a card-table. The wit of their conversation he could not appreciate, 
being ignorant of their language. And what good could his wife get, he 
urged, by making curtsies every night to a whole circle of Princesses ? 
He left Rebecca presently to frequent these parties alone ; resuming his 
own simple pursuits and amusements amongst the amiable friends of his 
own choice. 






A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 



323 



The truth is, when we say of a gentleman that he lives elegantly on nothing 
a-year, we use the word " nothing," to signify something unknown; mean- 
ing, simply, that we don't know how the gentleman in question defrays the 
expenses of his establishment. Now, our friend the Colonel had a great 
aptitude for all games of chance : and exercising himself, as he continually 
did, with the cards, the dice-box, or the cue, it is natural to suppose that 
he attained a much greater skill in the use of these articles than men can 
possess who only occasionally handle them. To use a cue at billiards 
well is like using a pencil, or a German flute, or a small-sword — you 
cannot master any one of these implements at first, and it is only by 
repeated study and perseverance, joined to a natural taste, that a man can 
excel in the handling of either. Now Crawley, from being only a brilliant 
amateur had grown to be a consummate master of billiards. Like a great 
general, his genius used to rise with the danger, and when the luck had 
been unfavourable to him for a whole game, and the bets were consequently 
against him, he would, with consummate skill and boldness, make some 
prodigious hits which would restore the battle, and come in a victor at the 
end, to the astonishment of everybody — of everybody, that is, who was a 
stranger to his play. Those who were accustomed to see it were cautious 
how they staked their money against a man of such sudden resources, and 
brilliant, and overpowering skill. 



~m. 




At games of cards he was equally skilful ; for though he would con- 
stantly lose money at the commencement of an evening, playing so carelessly 

y2 



324 VANITY FAIE. 



and making such blunders, that new comers were often inclined to think 
meanly of his talent ; yet when roused to action, and awakened to 
caution by repeated small losses, it was remarked that Crawley's play 
became quite different, and that he was pretty sure of beating his enemy 
thoroughly before the night was over. Indeed, very few men could say 
that they ever had the better of him. 

His successes were so repeated that no wonder the envious and the 
vanquished spoke sometimes with bitterness regarding them. And as the 
Trench say of the Duke of Wellington, who never suffered a defeat, that 
only an astonishing series of lucky accidents enabled him to be an invari- 
able winner ; yet even they allow that he cheated at Waterloo, and was 
enabled to win the last great trick : — so it was hinted at head-quarters in 
England, that some foul play must have taken place in order to account 
for the continuous successes of Colonel Crawley. . 

Though Prascati's and the Salon were open at that time in Paris, the 
mania for play was so widely spread, that the pubbc gambling-rooms did 
not suffice for the general ardour, and gambling went on in private houses 
as much as if there had been no public means for gratifying the passion. 
At Crawley's charming little reunions of an evening this fatal amusement 
commonly was practised — much to good-natured little Mrs. Crawley's annoy- 
ance. She spoke about her husband's passion for dice with the deepest 
grief ; she bewailed it to everybody who came to her house. She besought 
the young fellows never, never to touch a box ; and when young Green, 
of the Rifles, lost a very considerable sum of money, Rebecca passed a 
whole night in tears, as the servant told the unfortunate young gentleman, 
and actually went on her knees to her husband to beseech him to remit 
the debt, and burn the acknowledgment. How could he ? He had 
lost just as much himself to Blackstone of the Hussars, and Count 
Punter of the Hanoverian Cavalry. Green might have any decent time ; 
but pay ? — of course he must pay ; — to talk of burning I U's was 
child's-play. 

Other officers, chiefly young — for the young fellows gathered round Mrs. 
Crawley — came from her parties with long face, having dropped more or 
less money at her fatal card-tables. Her house began to have an unfor- 
tunate reputation. The old hands warned the less experienced of their 
danger. Colonel O'Dowd, of the — th regiment, one of those occupying 
in Paris, warned Lieutenant Spooney of that corps. A loud and violent 
fracas took place between the infantry-colonel and his lady, who were dining 
at the Cafe de Paris, and Colonel and Mrs. Crawley, who were also taking 
their meal there. The ladies engaged on both sides. Mrs. O'Dowd snapped 
her fingers in Mrs. Crawley's face, and called her husband " no betther 
than a black-leg." Colonel Crawley challenged Colonel O'Dowd, OB. 
The Commander-in-Chief hearing of the dispute sent for Colonel Crawley, 
who was getting ready the same pistols, c which he shot Captain Marker,' 
and had such a conversation with him that no duel took place. If Eebecca 
had not gone on her knees to General Tufto, Crawley would have been 
sent back to England; and he did not play, except with civilians, for 
some weeks after. 

But in spite of Eawdon's undoubted skill and constant successes, it 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 325 

became evident to Eebecca, considering these things, that their position 
was but a precarious one, and that even, although they paid scarcely any- 
body, their little capital would end one day by dwindling into zero. 
" Gambling," she would say, " dear, is good to help your income, but not 
as an income itself. Some day people may be tired of play, and then 
where are we ? " Eawdon acquiesced in the justice of her opinion ; and 
in truth he had remarked that after a few nights of his little suppers, Sec., 
gentlemen icere tired of play with him, and, in spite of Rebecca's charms, 
did not present themselves very eagerly. 

Easy and pleasant as their life at Paris was, it was after all only an 
idle dalliance and amiable trifling ; and Eebecca saw that she must push 
Bawdon's fortime in their own country. She must get him a place or 
appointment at home or in the colonies ; and she determined to make a 
move upon England as soon as the way coidd be cleared for her. As a 
first step she had made Crawley sell out of the Guards, and go on half- 
pay. His function as aide-de-camp to General Tufto had ceased pre- 
viously. Eebecca laughed in all companies at that officer, at his toupee 
(which be mounted on coming to Paris), at his waistband, at his false 
teeth, at his pretensions to be a lady-killer above all, and his absurd 
vanity in fancying every woman whom he came near was in love with him. 
It was to Mrs. Brent, the beetle-browed wife of Mr. Commissary Brent, to 
whom the General transferred his attentions now — his bouquets, his 
dinners at the restaurateurs, his opera-boxes, and his knick-knacks. Poor 
Mrs. Tufto was no more happy than before, and had still to pass long 
evenings alone with her daughters, knowing that her General was gone off 
scented and curled to stand behind Mrs. Brent's chair at the play. 
Becky had a dozen admirers in his place to be sure ; and could cut her 
rival to pieces with her wit. But as we have said, she was growing tired 
of tliis idle social life : opera-boxes and restaurateur-dinners palled upon 
her .- nosegays could not be laid by as a provision for future years : and 
she coidd not live upon knick-knacks, laced handkerchiefs, and kid gloves. 
She felt the frivolity of pleasure, and longed for more substantial benefits. 

At this juncture news arrived which was spread among the many 
creditors of the Colonel at Paris, and which caused them great satisfaction. 
Miss Crawley, the rich aunt from whom he expected his immense inherit- 
ance, was dying ; the Colonel must haste to her bed-side. Mrs. Crawley 
and her child would remain behind until he came to reclaim them. He 
departed for Calais, and having reached that place in safety, it might have 
been supposed that he went to Dover ; but instead he took the Diligence 
to Dunkirk, and thence travelled to Brussels, for which place he had a 
former predilection. The fact is, he owed more money at London than at 
Paris ; and he preferred the quiet little Belgian city to either of the more 
noisy capitals. 

Her aunt was dead. Mrs. Crawley ordered the most intense mourning 
for herself and little Eawdon. The Colonel was busy arranging the affairs 
of the inheritance. They could take the premier now, instead of the little 
entresol of the hotel which they occupied. Mrs. Crawley and the landlord 
had a consultation about the new hangings, an amicable wrangle about the 
carpets, and a final adjustment of everything except the bill. She went 



326 



VANITY FAIE. 



off in one of his carriages ; her Trench bonne with her ; the child by her side ; 
the admirable landlord and landlady smiling farewell to her from the gate. 
General Tufto was furious when he heard she was gone, and Mrs. Brent 
furious with him for being furious ; Lieutenant Spooney was cut • to the 
heart ; and the landlord got ready his best apartments previous to the 
return of the fascinating little woman and her husband. He serred the 
trunks which she left in his charge with the greatest care. They had 
been especially recommended to him by Madame Crawley. They were not, 
however, found to be particularly valuable when opened some time after. 

But before she went to join her husband iu the Belgic capital, Mrs. 
Crawley made an expedition into England, leaving behind her her little 
son upon the continent, under the care of her French maid. 

The parting between Eebecca and the little Bawdon did not cause either 
party much pain. She had not, to say truth, seen much of the young 
gentleman since his birth. After the amiable fashion of French mothers, 
she had placed him out at nurse in a village in the neighbourhood of Paris, 
where little Bawdon passed the first month of his life, not unhappily, with 




a numerous family of foster-brothers in wooden shoes. His father would 
ride over many a time to see him here, and the elder Bawdon's paternal 
heart glowed to see him rosy and dirty, shouting lustily, and happy hi the 






A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEEO. 327 

making of mud-pies under the superintendence of the gardener's wife, his 
nurse. 

Eebecca did not care much to go and see the son and hen - .' Once he 
spoiled a new dove-coloured pelisse of hers. He preferred his nurse's 
caresses to his mamma's, and when finally he quitted that jolly nurse and 
almost parent, he cried loudly for hours. He was only consoled by his 
mother's promise that he should return to his nurse the next day ; indeed 
the nurse herself, who probably would have been pained at the parting 
too, was told that the child would immediately be restored to her, and for 
some time awaited quite anxiously his return. 

In fact, our friends may be said to have been among the first of that 
brood- of hardy Engbsh adventurers who have subsequently invaded the 
Continent, and swindled in all the capitals of Europe. The respect in those 
happy days of 1S17-18, was very great, for the wealth and honour of 
Britons. They had not then learned, as I am told, to haggle for bargains 
with the pertinacity which now distinguishes them. The great cities of 
Europe had not been as yet open to the enterprise of our rascals. And 
whereas, there is now hardly a town of Prance or Italy in which you shall 
not see some noble countryman of our own, with that happy swagger and 
insolence of demeanour which we carry everywhere, swindling inn-land- 
lords, passing fictitious cheques upon credulous bankers, robbing coach- 
makers of their carriages, goldsmiths of then- trinkets, easy travellers of 
their money at cards, — even public libraries of their books ; — thirty years 
ago you needed but to be a Milor Anglais, travelling in a private carriage, 
and credit was at your hand wherever you chose to seek it, and gentlemen, 
instead of cheating, were cheated. It was not for some weeks after the 
Crawleys' departure that the landlord of the hotel which they occupied 
during their residence at Paris, found out the losses which he had sus- 
tained : not until Madame Marabou the milliner made repeated visits 
with her little bill for articles supplied to Madame Crawley : not until 
Monsieur Didelot from the Boule d'Or in the Palais Royal had asked half-a- 
dozen times whether cette charmante Miladi who had bought watches and 
bracelets of him was de retour. It is a fact that even the poor gardener's 
wife, who had nursed Madame's child, was never paid after the first six 
months for that supply of the milk of human kindness with which she had 
furnished the lusty and healthy little Rawdon. !N"o, not even the nurse 
was paid — the Crawleys were in too great a hurry to remember their 
trifling debt to her. As for the landlord of the hotel, his- curses against 
the Engbsh nation were violent for the rest of his natural life. He asked 
all travellers whether they knew a certain Colonel Lor Crawley — avec sa 
femme — une petite dame, tres spirituelle. " Ah, Mosiew /" he would 
add — tc Us m'ont affreusement vole." It was melancholy to hear his 
accents as he spoke of that catastrophe. 

Rebecca's object in her journey to London was to effect a kind 
of compromise with her husband's numerous creditors, and by offer- 
ing them a dividend of ninepence or a shilling in the pound, to 
secure a return for him into his own country. It does not become us 
to trace the steps which she took in the conduct of this most difficult 
negotiation ; but, having shown them to their satisfaction, that the sum 



328 VANITY FAIR. 



-which she was empowered to offer was all her husband's available capital, 
and having convinced them that Colonel Crawley woidd prefer a perpetual 
retirement on the continent to a residence in this country with his debts 
unsettled ; having proved to them that there was no possibility of money 
accruing to him from other quarters, and no earthly chance of their getting 
a larger dividend than that which she was empowered to offer, she brought 
the Colonel's creditors unanimously to accept her proposals, and purchased 
with fifteen hundred pounds of ready money, more than ten times that 
amount of debts. 

Mrs. Crawley employed no lawyer in the transaction. The matter was 
so simple, to have or to leave, as she justly observed, that she made the 
lawyers of the creditors themselves do the business. And Mr. Lews 
representing Mr. Davids of lied Lion Square, and Mr. Moss acting for 
Mr. Manasseh of Cursitor Street, (chief creditors of the Colonel's), compli- 
mented his lady upon the , brilliant way in which she did business, and 
declared that there was no professional man who could beat her. 

Rebecca received their congratulations with perfect modesty ; ordered a 
bottle of sherry and a bread cake to the little dingy lodgings where she 
dwelt, while conducting the business, to treat the enemy's lawyers ; shook 
hands with them at parting, in excellent good humour, and returned 
straightway to the continent, to rejoin her husband and son, and acquaint 
the former with the glad news of his entire liberation. As for the latter, 
he had been considerably neglected during his mother's absence by 
Mademoiselle Genevieve, her Trench maid ; for that young woman, con- 
tracting an attachment for a soldier in the garrison of Calais, forgot her 
charge in the society of this mllitalre, and little Rawdon very narrowly 
escaped drowning on Calais sands at this period, where the absent Genevieve 
had left and lost him. 

After a stay at Brussels, where they lived in good fashion, with carriages 
and horses, and giving pretty little dinners at their hotel, the Colonel and 
his lady again quitted that city, from which slander pursued them as it did 
from Paris, and where it is said they left a vast amount of debt behind 
them. Indeed, this is the way in which gentlemen who hve upon nothing 
a-year, make both ends meet. 

From Brussels, Colonel and Mrs. Crawley came to London : and it is 
at then- house in Curzon Street, May Pair, that they really showed the 
skill which must be possessed by those who would hve on the resources 
above named. 



CHAPTER XXXVII. 



THE SUBJECT CONTINUED. 




N the first place, and as a matter of the greatest 
necessity, we are bound to describe how a house 
may be got for nothing a-year. These mansions 
are to be had either unfurnished, where, if you 
have credit with Messrs. Gillows or Bantings, 
you can get them splendidly arranged and deco- 
rated entirely, according to your own fancy ; or 
they are to be let furnished j a less troublesome 
and complicated arrangement to most parties. 
It was so that Crawley and his wife preferred to 
hire their house. 

Before Mr. Bowls came to preside over Miss 
Crawley's house and cellar in Park Lane, that 
lady had had for a butler, a Mr. Baggies, who 
was born on the family estate of Queen's Crawley, 
and indeed was a younger son of a gardener 
there. By good conduct, a handsome person 
and calves, and a grave demeanour, Baggies rose from the knife-board to 
the foot-board of the carriage ; from the foot-board to the butler's pantry. 
When he had been a certain number of years at the head of Miss Crawley's 
establishment, where he had had good wages, fat perquisites, and plenty of 
opportunities of saving, he announced that he was about to contract a 
matrimonial alliance with a late cook of Miss Crawley's, who had subsisted 
in an honourable manner by the exercise of a mangle, and the keeping of a 
small green shop in the neighbourhood. The truth is, that the ceremony 
had been clandestinely performed some years back ; although the news of 
Mr. Baggie's marriage, was first brought to Miss Crawley by a little boy 
and girl of seven and eight years of age, whose continual presence in the 
kitchen had attracted the attention of Miss Briggs. 

Mr. Baggies then retired and personally undertook the superintendence 
of the small shop and the greens. He added milk and cream, eggs and 
country fed pork to his stores, contenting himself, whilst other retired 
butlers were vending spirits in public houses, by dealing in the simplest 
country produce. And having a good connection amongst the butlers in 
the neighbourhood, and a snug back parlour where he and Mrs. Baggies 
received them, his milk, cream, and eggs got to be adopted by many of 
the fraternity, and his profits increased every year. Tear after year he 
quietly and modestly amassed money, and when at length that snug and 
complete bachelor's residence at No. 201, Curzon Street, May Fair, lately 



330 VANITY FAIK. 



the residence of the Honourable Frederick Deuceace, gone abroad, with 
its rich and appropriate furniture by the first makers, was brought to the 
hammer, who should go in and purchase the lease and furniture of the 
house but Charles Eaggles ? A part of the money he borrowed, it is true, 
and at rather a high interest, from a brother butler, but the chief part he 
paid down, and it was with no small pride that Mrs. Eaggles found herself 
sleeping in a bed of carved mahogany, with silk curtains, with a prodigious 
cheval glass opposite to her, and a wardrobe which would contain her, and 
Eaggles, and all the family. 

Of course, they did not intend to occupy permanently an apartment 
so splendid. It was in order to let the house again that Eaggles pur- 
chased it. As soon as a tenant was found, he subsided into the green- 
grocer's shop once more ; but a happy thing it was for him to walk out of 
that tenement and into Curzon Street, and there survey his house — his 
own house — with geraniums in the window and a carved bronze knocker. 
The footman occasionally lounging at the area railing, treated him with 
respect ; the cook took her green stuff at his house and called him Mr. 
Landlord; and there was not one thing the tenants did, or one dish 
which they had for dinner, that Eaggles might not know of, if he liked. 

He was a good man ; good and happy. The house brought liim in so 
handsome a yearly income, that he was determined to send his children to 
good schools, and accordingly, regardless of expense, Charles was sent to 
boarding at T)r. Swishtail's, Sugar-cane Lodge, and little Matilda to Miss 
Peckover's, Laurentinum House, Clapham. 

Eaggles loved and adored the Crawley family as the author of all his 
prosperity in life. He had a silhouette of his mistress in his back shop, 
and a drawing of the Porter's Lodge at Queen's Crawley, done by that 
spinster herself in India ink — and the only addition he made to the deco- 
rations of the Curzon Street House was a print of Queen's Crawley in 
Hampshire, the Seat of Sir Walpole Crawley, Baronet, who was repre- 
sented in a gilded car drawn by six white horses, and passing by a lake 
covered with swans, and barges containing ladies in hoops, and musicians 
with flags and periwigs. Indeed, Eaggles thought there was no such 
palace in all the world, and no such august family. 

As luck would have it, Eaggles 5 house in Curzon Street was to let when 
Eawdon and his wife returned to London. The Colonel knew it and its 
owner quite well ; the latter's connexion with the Crawley family had been 
kept up constantly, for Eaggles helped Mr. Bowls whenever Miss Crawley 
received friends. And the old man not only let his house to the Colonel, 
but officiated as his butler whenever he had company; Mrs. Eaggles 
operating in the kitchen below, and sending up dinners of which old Miss 
Crawley herself might have approved. This was the way, then, Crawley 
got his house for nothing : for though Eaggles had to pay taxes and rates, 
and the interest of the mortgage to the brother butler ; and the insurance 
of his life ; and the charges for his children at school ; and the value of the 
meat and drink which his own family — and for a time that of Colonel 
Crawley too — consumed ; and though the poor wretch was utterly ruined 
by the transaction, his children being flung on the streets, and himself 
driven into the Pleet Prison ; yet somebody must pay even for gentlemen 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 331 

who live for nothing a-year — and so it was this unlucky Eaggles was 
made the representative of Colonel Crawley's defective capital. 

I wonder how many families are driven to roguery and to ruin by great 
practitioners in Crawley's way ? — how many great noblemen rob then petty 
tradesmen, condescend to swindle their poor retainers out of wretched 
little sums, and cheat for a few shillings ? When we read that a noble 
nobleman has left for the continent, or that another noble nobleman has 
an execution in his house — and that one or other owe six or seven 
millions, the defeat seems glorious even, and we respect the victim in the 
vastness of his ruin. But who pities a poor barber who can't get his 
money for powdering the footmen's heads ; or a poor carpenter who has 
ruined himself by fixing up ornaments and pavilions for my lady's 
dejeune; or the poor devil of a tailor whom the steward patronises, and who 
has pledged all he is worth, and more, to get the liveries ready, which my 
lord has done him the honour to bespeak? — When the great house 
tumbles down, these miserable wretches fall under it unnoticed : as they 
say in the old legends, before a man goes to the devil himself, he sends 
plenty of other souls thither. 

Eawdon and his wife generously gave their patronage to all such of 
Miss Crawley's tradesmen and purveyors as chose to serve them. Some 
were willing enough, especially the poor ones. It was wonderful to see 
the pertinacity with which the washerwoman from Tooting brought the 
cart every Saturday, and her bills week after week. Mr. Eaggles himself 
had to supply the green -groceries. The bill for servants' porter at the 
Fortune of War public house is a curiosity in the chronicles of beer. 
Every servant also was owed the greater part of Iris wages, and thus kept up 
perforce an interest in the house. Nobody in fact was paid. Not the 
blacksmith who opened the lock ; nor the glazier who mended the pane ; 
nor the jobber who let the carriage ; nor the groom who drove it ; nor the 
butcher who provided the leg of mutton ; nor the coals which roasted it ; 
nor the cook who basted it ; nor the servants who eat it : and this I am 
given to understand is not unfrequently the way in which people live 
elegantly on nothing a-year. 

In a little town such things cannot be done without remark. We know 
there the quantity of milk our neighbour takes, and espy the joint or the 
fowls which are going in for his dinner. So, probably, 200 and 202 in 
Curzon Street might know what was going on in the house between 
them, the servants communicating through the area-railings ; but Crawley 
and his wife and his friends did not know 200 and 202. When you came 
to 201 there was a hearty welcome, a kind smile, a good dinner, and a 
jolly shake of the hand from the host and hostess there, just for all the 
world, as if they had been undisputed masters of three or four thousand a 
year — and so they were, not in money, but in produce and labour — if they 
did not pay for the mutton, they had it : if they did not give bullion in 
exchange for their wine, how should we know ? Never was better claret at 
any man's table than at honest Eawdon's ; dinners more gay and neatly 
served. His drawing rooms were the prettiest, little, modest salon con- 
ceivable : they were decorated with the greatest taste, and a thousand knick- 
knacks from Paris, by Eebecca : and when she sate at her piano trilling 



332 VANITY FAIR. 



songs with a lightsome heart, the stranger voted himself in a little paradise 
of domestic comfort, and agreed that if the husband was rather stupid, the 
wife was charming, and the dinners the pleasantest in the world. 

Rebecca's wit, cleverness, and flippancy, made her speedily the vogue in 
London among a certain class. You saw demure chariots at her door, out 
of which stepped very great people. You beheld her carriage in the park, 
surrounded by dandies of note. The little box in the third tier of the 
Opera was crowded with heads constantly changing ; but it must be con- 
fessed that the ladies held aloof, from her, and that their doors were shut 
to our little adventurer. 

With regard to the world of female fashion and its customs, the present 
writer of course can only speak at second hand. A man can no more pene- 
trate or understand those mysteries than he can know what the ladies talk 
about when they go up stairs after dinner. It is only by inquiry and per- 
severance, that one sometimes gets hints of those secrets ; and by a similar 
diligence every person who treads the Pall Mall pavement and frequents the 
clubs of this metropolis, knows, either through his own experience or 
through some acquaintance with whom he plays at billiards or shares the 
joint, something about the genteel world of London, and how, as there 
are men (such as Rawdon Crawley, whose position we mentioned before), 
who cut a good figure to the eyes of the ignorant world and to the appren- 
tices in the Park, who behold them consorting with the most notorious 
dandies there, so there are ladies, who may be called men's women, 
being welcomed entirely by all the gentlemen, and cut or sbghted by all 
their wives. Mrs. Pirebrace is of this sort ; the lady with the beautiful 
fair ringlets whom you see every day in Hyde Park, surrounded by the 
greatest and most famous dandies of this empire. Mrs. Rockwood is 
another, whose parties are announced laboriously in the fashionable news- 
papers, and with w T hom you see that all sorts of ambassadors and great 
noblemen dine ; and many more might be mentioned had they to do with 
the history at present in hand. But while simple folks who are out of 
the world, or country people with a taste for the genteel, behold these 
ladies in their seeming glory in pubHc places,- or envy them from afar off, 
persons who are better instructed could inform them that these envied 
ladies have no more chance of establishing themselves in " society," than 
the benighted squire's wife in Somersetshire, who reads of their doings in 
the Morning Post. Men living about London are aware of these awful 
truths. You hear how pitilessly many ladies of seeming rank and wealth 
are excluded -from this "society." The frantic efforts which they make 
to enter this circle, the meannesses to which they submit, the insults 
which they undergo, are matters of wonder to those who take human or 
womankind for a study; and the pursuit of fashion under difficulties 
would be a fine theme for any very great person who had the wit, the 
leisure, and the knowledge of the English language necessary for the 
compiling of such a history. 

Now the few female acquaintances whom Mrs: Crawley had known 
abroad, not only declined to visit her when she came to this side of the 
channel, but cut her severely when they met in public places. It was 
curious to see how the great ladies forgot her, and no doubt not altogether 






A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 333 

a pleasant study to Kebecca. "When Lady Bareacres met her in the waiting- 
room at the Opera, she gathered her daughters about her as if they would 
be contaminated by a touch of Becky, and retreating a step or two, placed 
herself in front of them, and stared at her little enemy. To stare Becky 
out of countenance required a severer glance than even the frigid old 
Bareacres could shoot out of her dismal eyes. When Lady de la Mole, who 
had ridden a score of times by Becky's side at Brussels, met Mrs. Crawley's 
open carriage in Hyde Park, her Ladyship was quite blind, and could not in 
the least recognize her former friend. Even Mrs. Blenkinsop, the banker's 
wife, cut her at church. Becky went regularly to church now ; it was edi- 
fying to see her enter there with Bawdon by her side, carrying a couple of 
large gilt prayer-books, and afterwards going through the ceremony with 
the gravest resignation. 

Bawdon at first felt very acutely the slights which were passed upon his 
wife, and was inclined to be gloomy and savage. He talked of calling out 
the husbands or brothers of every one of the insolent women who did not 
pay a proper respect to his wife ; and it was only by the strongest com- 
mands and entreaties on her part, that he was brought into keeping a 
decent behaviour. " You can't shoot me into society," she said good- 
naturedly. " Bemember, my dear, that I was but a governess, and 
you, you poor silly old man, have the worst reputation for debt, and dice, 
and all sorts of wickedness. We shall get quite as many friends as we 
want by and by, and in the mean while you must be a good boy, and 
obey your schoolmistress in every thing she tells you to do. When we 
heard that your aunt had left almost everything to Pitt and his wife, do 
you remember what a rage you were in ? You would have told all Paris, 
if I had not made you keep your temper, and where would you have been 
now ? — in prison at St. Pelagie for debt, and not established in London in a 
handsome house, with every comfort about you — you were in such a fury 
you were ready to murder your brother, you wicked Cain you, and what 
good woidd have come of remaining angry ? All the rage in the world 
won't get us your aunt's money; and it is much better that we should 
be friends with your brother's family than enemies, as those foolish 
Butes are. When your father dies, Queen's Crawley will be a pleasant 
house for you and me to pass the winter in. If we are ruined, you 
can carve and take charge of the stable, and I can be a governess 
to Lady Susan's children. Buined ! fiddlededee ! I will get you a good 
place before that; or Pitt and his little boy will die, and we will be 
Sir Bawdon and my lady. While there is life, there is hope, my dear, 
and I intend to make a man of you yet. Who sold your horses for yo\i? 
Who paid your debts for you ? " Bawdon was obliged to confess that 
he owed all these benefits to his wife, and to trust himself to her guidance 
for the future. 

Indeed, when Miss Crawley quitted the world, and that money for 
whieh all her relatives had been fighting so eagerly was finally left to 
Pitt, Bute Crawley, who found that only five thousand pounds had been 
left to him instead of the twenty upon which he calculated, was in such a 
fury at his disappointment, that he vented it in savage abuse upon his 
nephew ; and the quarrel always rankhng between them ended in an utter 



334 VANITY FAIR. 



breach, of intercourse. Eawdon Crawley's conduct, on the other hand, 
who got but a hundred pounds, was such as to astonish his brother and 
delight his sister-in-law, who was disposed to look kindly upon all the 
members of her husband's family. He wrote to his brother a very frank, 
manly, good-humoured letter from Paris. He was aware, he said, that 
by his own marriage he had forfeited his aunt's favour ; and though he 
did not disguise his disappointment that she should have been so entirely 
relentless towards him, he was glad that the money was still kept in their 
branch of the family, and heartily congratulated his brother on his good 
fortune. He sent his affectionate remembrances to his sister, and hoped 
to have her good-will for Mrs. Crawley ; and the letter concluded with a 
postscript to Pitt in the latter lady's own hand-writing. She, too, begged 
to join in her husband's congratulations. She should ever remember Mr. 
Crawley's kindness to her in early days when she was a friendless orphan; 
the instructress of his little sisters, in whose welfare she still took the 
tenderest interest. She wished him every happiness in his married life, 
and, asking his pel-mission to offer her remembrances to Lady Jane (of 
whose goodness all the world informed her), she hoped that one day she 
might be allowed to present her little boy to his uncle and aunt, and 
begged to bespeak for him their good-will and protection. 

Pitt Crawley received this letter very graciously — more graciously than 
Miss Crawley had received some of Eebecca's previous compositions in 
Eawdon' s hand-writing ; and as for Lady Jane, she was so charmed with 
the letter, that she expected her husband would instantly divide her 
aunt's legacy into two equal portions, and send off one-half to his brother 
at Paris. 

To her ladyship's surprise, however, Pitt declined to accommodate his 
brother with a check for thirty thousand pounds. But he made Eawdon 
a handsome offer of his hand whenever the latter should come to England 
and choose to take it ; and, thanking Mrs. Crawley for her good opinion of 
himself and Lady Jane, he graciously pronounced his willingness to take 
any opportunity to serve her little boy. 

Thus- an almost reconciliation was brought about between the brothers. 
When Eebecca came to town Pitt and his wife were not in London. Many 
a time she drove by the old door in Park Lane to see whether they had 
taken possession of Miss Crawley's house there. But the new family did 
not make its appearance ; it was only through Eaggles that she heard of 
their movements — how Miss Crawley's domestics had been dismissed with 
decent gratuities, and how Mi*. Pitt had only once made his appearance in 
London, when he stopped for a few days at the house, did business with 
his lawyers there, and sold off all Miss Crawley's Trench novels to a book- 
seller out of Bond Street. Becky had reasons of her own which caused 
her to long for the arrival of her new relation. "When Lady Jane comes," 
thought she, " she shall be my sponsor in London society ; and as for 
the women ! bah ! — the women will ask me when they find the men want 
to see me." 



An article as necessary to a lady in this position as her Brougham or 
her bouquet, is her companion. I have always admired the way in which 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 335 

the tender creatures, who canuot exist without sympathy, hire an exceed- 
iugly plain friend of their own sex from whom they are almost inseparable. 
The sight of that inevitable woman in her faded gown seated behind her 
dear friend in the opera-box, or occupying the back seat of the barouche, 
is always a wholesome and moral one to me, as jolly a reminder as that of 
the Death's-head which figured in the repasts of Egyptian bon-vivants, a 
strange sardonic memorial of Yanity Pair. "What ? — even battered, brazen, 
beautiful, conscienceless, heartless, Mrs. Pirebrace, whose father died of 
her shame : even lovely, daring, Mrs. Mantrap, who will ride at any fence 
which any man in England will take, and who drives her greys in the 
Park, while her mother keeps ahuxter's stall in Bath still; — even those who 
are so bold, one might fancy they could face anything, dare not face the 
world without a female friend. They must have somebody to cling to, 
the affectionate creatures ! And you will hardly see them in any public 
place without a shabby companion in a dyed silk, sitting somewhere in the 
shade close behind them. 

"Bawdon," said Becky, very late one night as a party of gentlemen 
were seated round her crackling drawing-room fire ; (for the men came to 
her house to finish the night ; and she had ice and coffee for them, the 
best in London): "I must have a sheep-dog." 

" A what ? " said Bawdon, looking up from an ecarte table. 

" A sheep-dog," said young Lord Southdown. " My dear Mrs. 
Crawley, what a fancy ! Why not have a -Danish dog ? I know of one 
as big as a camel-leopard, by Jove. It would almost pull your Brougham. 
Or a Persian grey-hound, eh ? (I propose, if you please) ; or a little pug 
that would go into one of Lord Steyne's snuff-boxes ? There 's a man at 
Bayswater got one with such a nose that you might, — I mark the king 
and play, — that you might hang your hat on it." 

"I mark the trick," Bawdon gravely said. He attended to his game 
commonly, and didn't much meddle with the conversation except when it 
was about horses and betting. 

" What can you want with a shepherd's dog ? " the lively little South- 
down continued. 

" I mean a moral shepherd's dog," said Becky, laughing, and looking 
up at Lord Steyne. 

"What the devil's that?" said Ms Lordship. 

" A dog to keep the wolves off me," Rebecca continued. " A com- 
panion." 

" Dear little innocent lamb, you want one," said the Marquis ; and Ins 
jaw thrust out, and he began to grin hideously, his little eyes leering 
towards Bebecca. 

The great Lord of Steyne was standing by the fire sipping coffee. The 
fire crackled and blazed pleasantly. There was a score of candles sparkling 
round the mantelpiece, in all sorts of quaint sconces, of gilt and bronze 
and porcelain. They lighted up Bebecca's figure to admiration, as she 
sate on a sofa covered with a pattern of gaudy flowers. She was in a pink 
dress, that looked as fresh as a rose; her dazzling white arms and shoulders 
were half covered with a thin hazy scarf through which they sparkled ; her 
hair hung in curls round her neck ; one of her little feet peeped out from 



336 



VANITY FAIR. 



the fresli crisp folds of the silk ; the prettiest little foot in the prettiest 
little sandal in the finest silk stocking in the world. 




The candles lighted up Lord Steyne's shining bald head, which was 
fringed with red hair. He had thick bushy eyebrows, with little twinkling 
bloodshot eyes, surrounded by a thousand wrinkles. His jaw was under- 
hung, and when he laughed, two white buck-teeth protruded themselves 
and glistened savagely in the midst of the grin. He had been dining 
with royal personages, and wore his garter and ribbon. A short man was 
his Lordship, broad-chested, and bow-legged, but proud of the fineness of 
his foot and ancle, and always caressing his garter-knee. 

"And so the Shepherd is not enough," said he, "to defend his lambkin?" 

"The Shepherd is too fond of playing at cards and going to his clubs," 
answered Becky, laughing. 

"'Gad, what a debauched Corydon!" said my lord — "what a mouth 
for a pipe!" 

"I take your three to two ;" her,e said Eawdon, at tlie card-table. 

"Hark at Melibasus," snarled the noble Marquis; "he's pastorally 
occupied too ; he 's shearing a Southdown. What an innocent mutton, 
hey ? Damme, what a snowy fleece !" 

Rebecca's eyes shot out gleams of scornful humour. "My lord," she 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 337 

said, " you are a knight of the Order." He had the collar round his neck, 
indeed— a gift of the restored Princes of Spain. 

Lord Steyne in early life had been notorious for his daring and his 
success at play. He had sat up two days and two nights with Mr. Fox at 
hazard. He had won money of the most august personages of the realm .- 
he had won his marquisate, it was said, at the gaming-table ; but he did 
not like an allusion to those by-gone fredaines. Rebecca saw the scowl 
gathering over his heavy brow. 

She rose up from her sofa, and went and took his coffee cup out of his 
hand, with a little curtsey. " Yes, she said; I must get a watch-dog. But 
he won't bark at you." And, going into the other drawing-room, she sate 
down to the piano, and began to sing little Trench songs in such a charm- 
ing, thrilling voice, that the mollified nobleman speedily followed her 
into that chamber, and might be seen nodding his head and bowing time 
over her. . - 

Eawdon and his friend meanwhile played ecarte until they had enough. 
The Colonel won; but, say that he won" ever so much and often, nights 
like these, which occurred many times in the' week— his wife having all 
the talk and all the admiration, and he sitting silent without the circle, not 
comprehending a word of the jokes, the allusions, the mystical language 
within — must have been rather 'wearisome to the ex-draaroon. 

"How is Mrs. Crawley's husband," Lord Steyne used to say to him by 
way of a good .day when they met : and indeed that was now his avocation 
in life. He was Colonel Crawley no more. He was Mrs. Crawley's 
husband. 

About the little Eawdon, if nothing has been said all this while, it is 
because he is hidden up-stairs in a garret somewhere, or has crawled below 
into the kitchen for companionship. His mother scarcely ever took notice 
of him. He passed the days with his French bonne as long as that 
domestic remained in Mr. Crawley's family, and when the Frenchwoman 
went away, the little fellow howling in the loneliness of the night, had 
compassion taken on him by a housemaid, who took him out of his solitary 
nursery into her bed in the garret hard by, and comforted him. 

Rebecca, my Lord Steyne, and one or two more were in the drawing- 
room taking tea after the Opera, when this shouting was heard overhead. 
"It's my cherub crying for his nurse," she said. She did not offer to 
move to go and see the child. " Don't agitate your feelings by going to 
look for him," said Lord Steyne sardonically. "Bah ! " replied the other, 
with a sort of blush, " he '11 cry himself to sleep ; " and they fell to talking 
about the Opera. 

Eawdon had stolen off though, to look after his son and heir ; and came 
back to the company when he found that honest Dolly was consoling the 
child. The Colonel's dressing-room was in those upper regions. He used 
to see the boy there in private. They had interviews together every 
morning when he shaved ; Eawdon minor sitting on a box by his father's 
side and watching the operation with never ceasing pleasure. He and 
the sire were great friends. The father would bring bam sweet-meats from 
the dessert, and hide them in a certain old epaulet box, where the child 

z 



338 VANITY FAIK. 



went to seek them, and laughed with joy on discovering the treasure : 
laughed, but not too loud ; for mamma was below asleep and must not 
be disturbed. She did not go to rest till very late, and seldom rose till 
after noon. 

Eawdon bought the boy plenty of picture-books, and crammed his 
nursery with toys. Its walls were covered with pictures pasted up 
by the father's own hand, and purchased by him for ready money. 
When he was off duty with Mrs. Eawdon in the Park, he would sit up 
here, passing hours with the boy ; who rode on his chest, who pulled his 
great mustachios as if they were driving-reins, and spent days with him 
in indefatigable gambols. The room was a low room, and once, when the 
child was not five years old, his father, who was tossing him wildly up in 
his arms, hit the poor little chap's skull so violently against the ceiling 
that he almost dropped the child, so terrified was he at the disaster. 

Eawdon Minor had made up his face for a tremendous howl — the 
severity of the blow indeed authorised that indulgence: but just as he was 
going to begin, the father interposed. 

" For God's sake, Eawdy, don't wake mamma," he cried. And the 
child looking in a very hard and piteous way at his Father, bit his lips, 
clenched his hands, and didn't cry a bit. Eawdon told that story at the 
clubs, at the mess, to everybody in town. " By Gad, Sir," he explained to 
the public in general, " what a good plucked one that boy of mine is — what 
a trump he is ! I half sent his head through the ceiling, by Gad, and he 
wouldn't cry for fear of disturbing his mother." 

Sometimes — once or twice in a week — that lady visited the upper 
regions in which the child lived. She came like a vivified figure out of 
the Magasin des Modes — blandly smibng in the most beautiful new clothes 
and little gloves and boots. Wonderful scarfs, laces, and jewels glittered 
about her. She had always a new bonnet on : and flowers bloomed 
perpetually in it : or else magnificent curling ostrich feathers, soft and 
snowy as Camellias. She nodded twice or thrice patronizingly to the little 
boy, who looked up from his dinner or from the pictures of soldiers he was 
painting. When she left the room, an odour of rose, or some other magical 
fragrance, lingered about the nursery. She was an unearthly being in his 
eyes, superior to his father — to all the world : to be worshipped and 
admired at a distance. To drive with that lady in the carriage was an 
awful rite : he sate up in the back seat, and did not dare to speak : he gazed 
with all his eyes at the beautifully dressed princess opposite to him. 
Gentlemen on splendid prancing horses came up, and smiled and talked 
with her. How her eyes beamed upon all of them ! Her hand used to 
quiver and wave gracefully as they passed. When he went out with her 
he had his new red dress on. His old brown holland was good enough 
when he staid at home. Sometimes, when she was away, and Dolly his 
maid was making his bed, he came into his mother's room. It was as 
the abode of a fairy to him — a mystic chamber of splendor and delights. 
There in the wardrobe hung those wonderful robes — pink, and blue, and 
many-tinted. There was the jewel-case, silver-clasped: and the mystic 
bronze hand on the dressing-table, glistening all over with a hundred 
rings. There was the cheval-glass, that miracle of art, in which he could 



A KOYEL WITHOUT A HERO. 339 

just see his own wondering head, and the reflection of Dolly (queerly 
distorted, and as if up in the ceiling), plumping and patting the pillows of 
the bed. 0, thou poor lonely little benighted boy ! Mother is the 
name for God in the lips and hearts of little children ; and here was one 
who was worshipping a stone ! 

Now Eawdon Crawley, rascal as the Colonel was, had certain manly 
tendencies of affection in his heart, and could love a child and a woman 
still. Tor Kawdon Minor he had a great secret tenderness then, which 
did not escape Eebecca, though she did not talk about it to her husband. 
It did not annoy her: she was too good-natured. It only increased 
her scorn for him. He felt somehow ashamed of this paternal softness, 
and hid it from his wife — only indulging in it when alone with the boy. 

He used to take him out of mornings, when they would go to the stables 
together and to the Park. Little Lord Southdown, the best-natured of 
men, who woidd make you a present of the hat from his head, and whose 
main occupation in life was to buy knick-knacks that he might give them 
away afterwards, bought the little chap a pony not much bigger than a 
large rat, the donor said, and on this little black Shetland pigmy young 
Eawdon' s great father was pleased to mount the boy, and to walk by his 
side in the Park. It pleased him to see his old quarters, and his old 
fellow-guardsmen at Knightsbridge : he had begun to think of his 
bachelorhood with something like regret. The old troopers were glad to 
recognise their ancient officer, and dandle the little Colonel. Colonel 
Crawley found dining at mess and with his brother-officers very pleasant. 
" Hang it, I ain't clever enough for her — I know it. She won't miss 
me," he used to say : and he was right : his wife did not miss him. 

Eebecca was fond of her husband. She was always perfectly good- 
humoured and kind to him. She did not even show her scorn much for 
him ; perhaps she liked him the better for being a fool. He was her 
upper servant and maitre d' hotel. He went on her errands : obeyed her 
orders without question : drove in the carriage in the ring with her without 
repining ; took her to the Opera-box ; solaced himself at his club ^during 
the performance, and came punctually back to fetch her when due. He 
would have liked her to be a little fonder of the boy : but even to that he 
reconciled himself. " Hang it, you know she's so clever," he said, " and 
I'm not literary, and that you know." Tor, as we have said before, 
it requires no great wisdom to be able to win at cards and billiards, and 
Eawdon made no pretensions to any other sort of skill. 

When the companion came, his domestic duties became very light. His 
wife encouraged him to dine abroad : she would let him off duty at the 
Opera. " Don't stay and stupify yourself at home to night, my dear," 
she would say. " Some men are coming who will only bore you. I 
would not ask them, but you know it 's for your good, and now I have a 
sheep-dog, I need not be afraid to be alone." 

"A sheep-dog — a companion! Becky Sharp with a companion! 
Isn't it good fun ?" thought Mrs. Crawley to herself. The notion tickled 
hugely her sense of humour. 

One Sunday morning, as Eawdon Crawley, his little son, and the pony 

z 2 



340 VANITY FAIK. 



were taking their accustomed walk in the Park, they passed by an old 
acquaintance of the Colonel's, Corporal Clink, of the regiment, who was in 
conversation with a friend, an old gentleman, who held a boy in his 
arms about the age of little Eawdon. This other youngster had seized 
hold of the Waterloo medal which the Corporal wore, and was examining 
it with delight. 

" Good morning, your Honour," said Clink, in reply to the " How-do, 
Clink?" of the Colonel. " This ere young gentleman is about the little 
Colonel's age, Sir," continued the Corporal. 

"His father was a Waterloo man, too,", said the old gentleman, who 
carried the boy. " Wasn't he, Georgy?" 

" Yes," said Georgy. He and the -little chap on the pony were looking 
at each other with all then- might — solemnly scanning each other as 
children do. 

" In a line regiment," Clink said, with a patronising air. 
" He was a Captain in the — th regiment," said the old gentleman 
rather pompously. " Captain George Osborne, Sir — perhaps you knew 
him. He died the death of a hero, Sir, fighting against the Corsican 
tyrant." 

Colonel Crawley blushed quite red. " I knew him very well, Sir," he 
said, " and his wife, his dear little wife, Sir — how is she?" 

" She is my daughter, Sir," said the old gentleman, pulling down the 
boy, and taking out a card with great solemnity, which he handed to the 
Colonel. On it was written — 

Mr. Sedley, Sole Agent for the Black Diamond and Anti-Cinder Coal 
Association, Bunker's Wharf, Thames Street, and Anna-Maria Cottages, 
Fulham Boad West. 

Little Georgy went up and looked at the Shetland pony. 
" Should you like to have a ride ? " said Bawdon Minor from the 
saddle. 

" Yes," said Georgy. The Colonel, who had been looking at him with 
some interest, took up the child and put him ou the pony behind Bawdon 
Minor. 

" Take hold of him, Georgy," he said — " take my little boy round the 
waist: — his name is Bawdon." And both the children began to laugh. 

"You won't see a prettier pair, I think, tltis summer's day; Sir," said the 
good-natured Corporal; and the Colonel, the Corporal, and old Mr. Sedley 
with his umbrella, walked by the side of the children. 




TSsC<rL%/i / £, /7//.'JA-£j /^^a- 






CHAPTER XXXVIII. 



A FAMILY IN A VERY SMALL WAY. 




r^E must suppose little George Os- 
borne has ridden from Knights- 
bridge towards Eulham, and will 
stop and make inquiries at that 
village regarding some friends 
whom we have left there. How 
is Mrs. Amelia after the storm 
of Waterloo ? Is she living and. 
thriving? What has come of 
Major Dobbin, whose cab was 
always hankering about her pre- 
mises ? and are there any news 
of the Collector of Boggley- 
wollah ? The facts concerning 
the latter are briefly these : 

Our worthy fat friend Joseph 
Sedley returned to India not 
long after his escape from Brussels. Either his furlough was up, or he 
dreaded to meet any witnesses of his Waterloo flight. However it might 
be, he went back to his duties in Bengal, very soon after Napoleon had 
taken up his residence at Saint Helena, where Jos saw the ex-emperor. . 
To hear Mr. Sedley talk on board ship you would have supposed that it 
was not the first time he and the Corsican had met, and that the civilian 
had bearded the French General at Mount St. John. He had a thousand 
anecdotes about the famous battles ; he knew the position of every regi- 
ment, and the loss which each had incurred. He did not deny that he 
had been concerned in those victories — that he had been with the army, 
and carried dispatches for the Duke of Wellington. And he described 
what the Duke did and said on every conceivable moment of the day of 
Waterloo, with such an accurate knowledge of his Grace's sentiments and 
proceedings, that it was clear he must have been by the conqueror's side 
throughout the day ; though, as a non-combatant, his name was not men- 
tioned in the pubbc documents relative to the battle. Perhaps he actually 
worked himself up to believe that he had been engaged with the army ; 
certain it is that he made a prodigious sensation for some time at Calcutta, 
and was called Waterloo Sedley during the whole of his subsequent stay 
in Bengal. 

The bills which Jos had given for the purchase of those unlucky horses 
were paid without question by him and his agents. He never was heard 



342 VANITY FAIK. 



to allude to the bargain, and nobody knows for a certainty what became 
of the horses, or how he got rid of them, or of Isidor, his Belgian servant, 
who sold a grey horse very like the one which Jos rode at Valenciennes 
sometime during the autumn of 1815. 

Jos's London agents had orders to pay one hundred and twenty pounds 
yearly to his parents at Pulham. It was the chief support of the old 
couple ; for Mr. Sedley's speculations in life subsequent to his bankruptcy 
did not by any means retrieve the broken old gentleman's fortune. He 
tried to be a wine-merchant, a coal-merchant, a commission-lottery agent, 
&c, &c. He sent round prospectuses to his friends whenever he took a 
new trade, and ordered a new brass plate for the door, and talked pomp- 
ously about making his fortune still. But Fortune never came back to the 
feeble and stricken old man. One by one his friends dropped off, and 
were weary of buying dear coals and bad wine from him ; and there was 
only his wife in all the world who fancied, when he tottered off to the city 
of a morning, that he was still doing any business there. At evening he 
crawled slowly back ; and he used to go of nights to a little club at a 
tavern, where he disposed of the finances of the nation. It was wonder- 
ful to hear him talk about millions, and agios, and discounts, and what 
Bothschild was doing, and Baring Brothers. He talked of such vast 
sums that the gentlemen of the club (the apothecary, the undertaker, the 
great carpenter and builder, the parish clerk, who was allowed to come 
stealthily, and Mr. Clapp, our old acquaintance) respected the old gentle- 
man. " I was better off once, Sir," he did not fail to tell everybody who 
' used the room.' " My son, Sir, is at this minute chief magistrate of 
Kamgunge in the Presidency of Bengal, and touching his four thousand 
rupees per mensem. My daughter might be a Colonel's lady if she liked. 
I might draw upon my son, the first magistrate, Sir, for two thousand 
pound to-morrow, and Alexander would cash my bill, down Sir, down on the 
counter, Sir. But the Sedleys were always a proud family." You and I, 
my dear reader, may drop into this condition one day : for have not many of 
our friends attained it ? Our luck may fail : our powers forsake us : our 
place on the boards be taken by better and younger mimes — the chance of 
life roll away and leave us shattered and stranded. Then men will walk 
across the road when they meet you — or, worse still, hold you out a couple 
of fingers and patronise you in a pitying way — then you will know, as 
soon as your back is turned, that your friend begins with a "Poor devil, 
what imprudences he has committed, what chances that chap has thrown 
away ! " Well, well — a carriage and three thousand a-year is not the summit 
of the reward nor the end of God's judgment of men. If quacks prosper 
as often as they go to the wall — if zanies succeed and knaves arrive at 
fortune, and, vice versa, sharing ill luck and prosperity for all the world 
like the ablest and most honest amongst us — I say, brother, the gifts 
and pleasures of Vanity Pair cannot be held of any great account, and 
that it is probable .... but we are Avandering out of the domain of 
the story. 

Had Mrs. Sedley been a woman of energy, she would have exerted it 
after her husband's ruin, and, occupying a large house, would have taken 
in boarders. The broken Sedley would have acted well as the boarding- 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 343 

house landlady's husband; the Munoz of private life; the titular lord 
and master : the carver, house- steward, and humble husband of the occupier 
of the dingy throne. I have seen men of good brains and breeding, and 
of good hopes and vigour once, who feasted squires and kept hunters in 
their youth, meekly cutting up legs of mutton for rancorous old harridans, 
and pretending to preside over their dreary tables — but Mrs. Sedley, we 
say, had not spirit enough to bustle about for " a few select inmates to 
join a cheerful musical family," such as one reads of in the Times. She 
was content to lie on the shore where fortune had stranded her — and 
you could see that the career of this old couple was over. 

I don't think they were unhappy. Perhaps they were a little prouder 
in their downfall than in their prosperity. Sirs. Sedley was always a 
great person for her landlady, -Mrs. Clapp, when she descended and passed 
many hours with her in the basement or ornamented kitchen. The Irish 
maid Betty Flanagan's bonnets and ribbons, her sauciness, her idleness, 
her reckless prodigabty of kitchen candles, her consumption of tea and 
sugar, and so forth, occupied and amused the old lady almost as much as 
the doings of her former household, when she had Sambo and the coach- 
man, and a groom and a footboy, and a housekeeper with a regiment of 
female domestics — her former household, about which the good lady talked 
a hundred times a-day. And besides Betty Flanagan, Mrs. Sedley had 
all the maids-of-all-work in the street to superintend. She knew how 
each tenant of the cottages paid or owed his little rent. She stepped 
aside when Mi's. Bougemont the actress passed with her dubious family. 
She flung up her head when Mrs. Pestler, the apothecary's lady, drove by 
in her husband's professional one-horse chaise. She had colloquies with 
the green-grocer about the pennorth of turnips which Mr. Sedley loved : 
she kept an eye upon the milkman, and the baker's boy : and made visita- 
tions to the butcher, who sold hundreds of oxen very likely with less ado 
than was made about Mrs. Sedley's loin of mutton : and she counted the 
potatoes under the joint on Sundays, on which days, drest in her best, she 
went to church twice and read Blair's Sermons in the evening. 

On that day, for "business" prevented him on week days from taking 
such a pleasure, it was old Sedley's delight to take out his little grandson 
Georgy to the neighbouring Parks or Kensington Gardens, to see the 
soldiers, or to feed the ducks. Georgy loved the red-coats, and his 
grandpapa told him how his father had been a famous soldier, and 
introduced him to many sergeants and others with Waterloo medals on 
their breasts, to whom the old grandfather pompously presented the child 
as the son of Captain Osbome of the — th, who died gloriously on the 
glorious eighteenth. He has been known to treat some of these non- 
commissioned gentlemen to a glass of porter, and, indeed, in their first 
Sunday walks was disposed to spoil little Georgy, sadly gorging the boy 
with apples and parliament, to the detriment of his health — until Amelia 
declared that George should never go out with his grandpapa, unless the 
latter promised solemnly, and on his honour, not to give the child any 
cakes, lollipops, or stall produce whatever. 

Between Mrs. Sedley and her daughter there was a sort of coolness 
about this boy, and a secret jealousy — for one evening, in George's very 



344 



VANITY FAIR. 



early days, Amelia, who had been seated at work in their little parlour 
scarcely remarking that the old lady had quitted the room, ran up stairs 
instinctively to the nursery at the cries of the child, who had been asleep 
until that moment — and there found Mrs. Sedley in the act of surrepti- 
tiously administering Daffy's Elixir to the infant. Amelia, the gentlest 
and sweetest of every-day mortals, when she found this meddling with 
her maternal authority, thrilled and trembled all over with anger. Her 
cheeks, ordinarily pale, now flushed up, until they were as red as they used 
to be when she was a child of twelve years old. She seized the baby out 
of her mother's arms, and then grasped at the bottle, leaving the old 
lady gaping at her, furious, and holding the guilty tea-spoon. 




Amelia flung the bottle crashing into the foe-place. " I will not have baby 
poisoned, Mamma," cried Emmy, rocking the infant about violently with 
both her arms round him, and turning with flashing eyes at her mother. 

"Poisoned, Amelia!" said the old lady; " this language to me?" 

" He shall not have any medicine but that which Mr. Pestler sends 
for him. He told me that Daffy's Elixir was poison." 

"Very good : you think I'm a murderess, then," replied Mrs. Sedley. 
"This is the language you use to your mother. I have met with 
misfortunes : I have sunk low in life : I have kept my carriage, and now 
walk on foot : but I did not know I was a murderess before, and thank 
vou for the news" 



A NOYEL WITHOUT A HERO. 345 

" Mamma," said the poor girl, who was always ready for tears — "you 
shouldn't be hard upon me. I — I didn't mean — I mean, I did not wish 
to say you would do any wrong to this dear child ; only — " 

" 0, no, my love — only that I was a murderess ; in which case, I had 
better go to the Old Bailey. Though I didn't poison you, when you were a 
child; but gave you the best of education, and the most'expensive masters 
money could procure. Yes ; I've nursed five children, and buried three ; 
and the one I loved the best of all, and tended through croup, and teething, 
and measles, and hooping-cough, and brought up with foreign masters, 
regardless of expense, and with accomplishments at Minerva House — which 
I never had when I was a girl — when I was too glad to honour my father 
and mother, that I might live long in the land, and to be useful, and not 
to mope all day in my room and act the fine lady — says I'm a murderess. 
Ah, Mrs. Osborne ! may you never nourish a viper in your bosom, that's 
my prayer. 

"Mamma, Mamma!" cried the bewildered girl : and the child in her 
arms set up a frantic chorus of shouts. 

"A murderess, indeed ! Go down on your knees and pray to God to 
cleanse your wicked ungrateful heart, Amelia, and may He forgive you as I 
do ;" and Mrs. Sedley tossed out of the room, hissing out the word poison, 
once more, and so ending her charitable benediction. - 

Till the termination of her natural life, this breach between Mrs. Sedley 
and her daughter was never thoroughly mended. The quarrel gave the 
elder lady numberless advantages which she did not fail to turn to account 
with female ingenuity and perseverance. For instance, she scarcely spoke 
to Amelia for many weeks afterwards. She warned the domestics not to 
touch the child, as Mrs. Osborne might be offended. She asked her daughter 
to see and satisfy herself that there was no poison prepared in the little 
daily messes that were concocted for Georgy. When neighbours asked 
after the boy's health, she referred them pointedly to Mrs. Osborne. She 
never ventured to ask whether the baby was well or not. She would not 
touch the child although he was her grandson, and own precious darling, 
for she was not nsed to children, and might kill it. And whenever Mr. 
Pestler came upon his healing inquisition, she received the Doctor with 
such a sarcastic and scornful demeanour, as made the surgeon declare that 
not Lady Thistlewood herself, whom he had the honour of attending pro- 
fessionally, could give herself greater airs than old Mrs. Sedley, from 
whom he never took a fee. And very likely Emmy was jealous too, upon 
her own part, as what mother is not, of those who would manage her 
children for her, or become candidates for the first place in their affections ? 
It is certain that when anybody nursed the child, she was uneasy, and 
that she would no more allow Mrs. Clapp or the domestic to dress or tend 
him, than she would have let them wash her husband's miniature which 
hung up over her little bed ; — the same little bed from which the poor girl 
had gone to his ; and to which she retired now for many long, silent, tearful, 
but happy years. 

In this room was all Amelia's heart and treasure. Here it was that she 
tended her boy, and watched him through the many ills of childhood, with 
a constant passion of love. The elder George returned in hiin somehow, 



346 VANITY FAIK. 



only improved, and as if come back from heaven. In a hundred little tones, 
looks, and movements, the child was so like his father, that the widow's 
heart thrilled as she held him to it ; and he would often ask the cause 
of her tears. It was because of his likeness to his father, she did not 
scruple to tell him. She talked constantly to him about this dead father, 
and spoke of her love for George to the innocent and wondering child ; 
much more than she ever had done to George himself, or to any confidante 
of her youth. To her parents she never talked about this matter : shrink- 
ing from baring her heart to them. Little George very likely could under- 
stand no better than they ; but into his ears she poured her sentimental 
secrets unreservedly, and into his only. The very joy of this woman was 
a sort of grief, or so tender, at least, that its expression was tears. Her 
sensibilities were so weak and tremulous, that perhaps they ought not to 
be talked about in a book. I was told by Dr. Pestler, (now a most 
flourishing lady's physician, with a sumptuous dark-green carriage, a pros- 
pect of speedy knighthood, and a house in Manchester Square,) that her 
grief at weaning the child was a sight that would have unmanned a Herod. 
He was very soft-hearted many years ago, and his wife was mortally jealous 
of Mrs. Amelia, then and long afterwards. 

Perhaps the Doctor's lady had good reason for her jealousy : most 
women shared it, of those who formed the small circle of Amelia's 
acquaintance, and were quite angry at the enthusiasm with which the 
other sex regarded her. For almost all men who came near her loved 
her ; though no doubt they would be at a loss to tell you why. She was 
not brilliant, nor witty, nor wise overmuch, nor extraordinarily handsome. 
But wherever she went she touched and charmed every one of the male 
sex, as invariably as she awakened the scorn and incredulity of her own 
sisterhood. I think it was her weakness which was her principal charm : — 
a kind of sweet submission and softness, which seemed to appeal to each 
man she met for his sympathy and protection. We have seen how in the 
regiment, though she spoke but to few of George's comrades there, all the 
swords of the young fellows at the mess-table would have leapt from their 
scabbards to fight round her : and so it was in the little narrow lodging- 
house and circle of Eulham, she interested and pleased everybody. If she 
had been Mrs. Mango herself, of the great house of Mango, Plantain, and 
Co., Crutched Priars, and the magnificent proprietress of the Pineries, 
Eulham, who gave summer dejeunes frequented by Dukes and Earls, and 
drove about the parish with magnificent yellow liveries and bay horses, 
such as the royal stables at Kensington themselves could not turn out — I 
say had she been Mrs. Mango herself, or her son's wife, Lady Mary 
Mango, (daughter of the Earl of Castlemouldy, who condescended to 
marry the head of the firm,) the tradesmen of the neighbourhood could 
not pay her more honour than they invariably showed to the gentle young 
widow, when she passed by their doors, or made her humble purchases at 
their shops. 

Thus it was not only Mr. Pestler, the medical man, but Mr. Linton, the 
young assistant, who doctored the servant maids and small tradesmen, 
and might be seen any day reading the Times in the surgery, who openly 
declared himself the slave of Mrs. Osborne. He was a personable young 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 347 

gentleman, more welcome at Mrs. Sedley's lodgings than his principal ; 
and if anything went wrong with Georgy, he woidd drop in twice or thrice 
in the day, to see the little chap, and without so much as the thought of 
a fee. . He would abstract lozenges, tamarinds, and other produce from the 
surgery-drawers for little Georgy's benefit, and compounded draughts and 
mixtures for him of miraculous sweetness, so that it was quite a pleasure 
to the child to be ailing. He and Pestler, his chief, sate up two whole 
nights by the boy in that momentous and awful week when Georgy had 
the measles ; and when you would have thought, from the mother's terror, 
that there had never been measles in the world before. "Would they have 
done as much for other people ? Did they sit up for the folks at the 
Pineries, when Ealph Plantagenet, and Gwendoline, and Guinever Mango 
had the same juvenile complaint ? Did they sit up for little Mary Clapp, 
the landlord's daughter, who actually caught the disease of little Georgy ? 
Truth compels one to say, no. They slept quite undisturbed, at least as 
far as she was concerned — pronounced hers to be a slight case, which 
would almost cure itself, sent her in a draught or two, and threw in bark 
when the child rallied, with perfect indifference, and just for form's sake. 

Again, there was the little French chevalier opposite, who gave lessons 
in his native tongue at various schools in the neighbourhood, and who 
might be heard in his apartment of nights playing tremulous old gavottes 
and minuets, on a wheezy old fiddle. Whenever this powdered and 
courteous old man, who never missed a Sunday at the convent chapel at 
Hammersmith, and who was in all respects, thoughts, conduct, and bear- 
ing, utterly unlike the bearded savages, of his nation, who curse perfidious 
Albion, and scowl at you from over their cigars, in the Quadrant arcades 
at the present day, — whenever the old Chevalier de Talonrouge spoke of 
Mistress Osborne, he would first finish his pinch of snuff, flick away the 
remaining particles of dust with a graceful wave of his hand, gather up 
his fingers again into a bunch, and, bringing them up to his mouth, blow 
them open with a kiss, exclaiming, Ah, la divine creature ! He vowed and 
protested that when Amelia walked in the Brompton Lanes flowers grew 
in profusion under her feet. He called little Georgy Cupid, and asked him 
news of Venus, his mamma ; and told the astonished Betty Flanagan that 
she was one of the Graces, and the favourite attendant of the Berne des 
Amours. 

Instances might be multiplied of this easily gained and unconscious 
popularity. Did not Mr. Binny, the mild and genteel curate of the district 
chapel, which the family attended, call assiduously upon the widow, dandle 
the little boy on his knee, and offer to teach him Latin, to the anger of the 
elderly virgin, his sister, who kept house for him ? " There is nothing in 
her, Beilby," the latter lady would say. " When she comes to tea here 
she does not speak a word during the whole evening. She is but a poor 
lackadaisical creature, and it is my belief has no heart at all. It is only 
her pretty face which all you gentlemen admire so. Miss Grits, who has 
five thousand pounds and expectations besides, has twice as much character, 
and is a thousand times more agreeable to my taste ; and if she were good- 
looking I know that you would think her perfection." 

Very likely Miss Binny was right to a great extent. It is the pretty 



348 



VANITY FAIE. 



face which creates sympathy in the hearts of men, those wicked rogues. 
A woman may possess the wisdom and chastity of Minerva, and we give 
no heed to her, if she has a plain face. What folly will not a pair of bright 
eyes make pardonable ? What dullness may not red lips and sweet accents 
render pleasant ? And so, with their usual sense of justice, ladies argue 
that because a woman is handsome, therefore she is a fool. Oh ladies, 
ladies ! some there are of you who are neither handsome nor wise. 

These are but trivial incidents to recount in the life of our heroine. 
Her tale does not deal in wonders, as the gentle reader has already no 
doubt perceived ; and if a journal had been kept of her proceedings during 
the seven years after the birth of her son, there would be found few inci- 
dents more remarkable in it than that of the measles, recorded in the fore- 
going page. Yes, one day, and greatly to her wonder, the Reverend Mr. 
Binny just mentioned, asked her to change her name of Osborne for his 
own ; when, with deep blushes, and tears in her eyes and voice, she 
thanked him for his regard for her, expressed gratitude for his attentions 
to her and to her poor little boy, but said that she never, never could think 
of any but — but the husband whom she had lost. 




On the twenty-fifth of April, and the eighteenth of June, the days of her 
marriage and widowhood, she kept her room entirely, consecrating them 



A NOVEL WITHOUT A HEKO. 349 

(and we do not know how many hours of solitary night -thought, her little 
boy sleeping in his crib by her bed-side) to the memory of that departed 
friend. During the day she was more active. She had to teach George to 
read and to write, and a httle to draw. She read books, in order that she 
might tell him stories from them. As his eyes opened, and his mind 
expanded, under the influence of the outward nature round about him, she 
taught the child, to the best of her humble power, to acknowledge the 
Maker of all ; and every night and every morning he and she — (in that 
awful and touching communion which I think must bring a thrill to the 
heart of every man who witnesses or who remembers it) — the mother and 
the little boy — prayed to Our Father together, the mother pleading with 
all her gentle heart, the child lisping after as she spoke. And each time 
they prayed to God to bless dear papa, as if he were alive and in the room 
with them. 

To wash and dress this young gentleman — to take him for a run of the 
mornings, before breakfast, and the retreat of grandpapa for "business " — 
to make for him the most wonderful and ingenious dresses, for which end 
the thrifty widow cut up and altered every available little bit of finery 
which she possessed out of her wardrobe during her marriage — for Mrs. 
Osborne herself, (greatly to her mother's vexation, who preferred fine clothes, 
especially since her misfortunes) always wore a black gown, and a straw 
bonnet with a black ribbon — occupied her many hours of the day. Others 
she had to spare, at the service of her mother and her old father. She had 
taken the pains to learn, and used to play cribbage with this gentleman on 
the nights when he did not go to his club. She sang for him when he was 
so minded, and it was a good sign, for he invariably fell into a comfortable 
sleep during the music. She wrote out his numerous memorials, letters, 
prospectuses, and projects. It was in her hand-writing that most of the 
old gentleman's former acquaintances were informed that he had become 
an agent for the Black Diamond and Anti-Cinder Coal Company, and 
could supply his friends and the public with the best coals at — s. per 
chaldron. All he did was to sign the circulars with his flourish and signa- 
ture, and direct them in a shaky, clerk-like hand. One of these papers 
was sent to Major Dobbin, — Regt., care of Messrs. Cox and Greenwood ; 
but the Major being in Madras at the time, had no particular call for coals. 
He knew, though, the hand which had written the prospectus. Good God ! 
what, would he not have given to hold it in his own ! A second prospectus 
came out, informing the Major that J. Sedley and Company, having esta- 
blished agencies at Oporto, Bordeaux, and St. Mary's,"were enabled to offer 
to their friends and the public generally, the finest and most celebrated 
growths of ports, sherries, and claret wines at reasonable prices, and under 
extraordinary advantages. Acting upon this hint, Dobbin furiously can- 
vassed the governor, the commander-in-chief, the judges, the regiments, and 
everybody whom he knew in the Presidency, and sent home to Sedley and 
Co. orders for wine which perfectly astonished Mr. Sedley and Mr. Clapp, 
who was the Co. in the business. But no more orders came after that 
first burst of good fortune, on which poor old Osborne was about to build 
a house in the city, a regiment of clerks, a dock to himself, and correspon- 
dents all over the world. The old gentleman's former taste in wine had 






350 VANITY FATE. 



gone : the curses of the mess-room assailed Major Dobbin for the vile 
drinks he had been the means of introducing there ; and he bought back 
a great quantity of the wine, and sold it at public outcry, at an enormous 
loss to himself. As for Jos, who was by this time promoted to a seat at 
the Revenue Board at Calcutta, he was wild with rage when the post 
brought him out a bundle of these Bacchanalian prospectuses, with a 
private note from his father, telling Jos that his senior counted upon him 
in this enterprise, and had consigned a quantity of select wines to him, as 
per invoice, drawing bills upon him for the amount of the same. Jos, who 
would no more have it supposed that his father, Jos Sedley's father, of 
the Board of Revenue, was a wine merchant asking for orders, than that 
he was Jack Ketch, refused the bills with scorn, wrote back contumeliously 
to the old gentleman, bidding him to mind his own affairs ; and the pro- 
tested paper coming back, Sedley and Co. had to take it up with the 
profits which they had made out of the Madras venture, and with a little 
portion of Emmy's savings. 

Besides her pension of fifty pounds a-year, there had been five hundred 
pounds, as her husband's executor stated, left in the agent's hands at the 
time of Osborne's demise, which sum, as George's guardian, Dobbin pro- 
posed to put out at 8 per cent, in an Indian house of agency. Mr. 
Sedley, who thought the Major had some roguish intentions of his own 
about the money, was strongly against this plan ; and he went to the agents 
to protest personally against the employment of the money in question, when 
he learned, to his surprise, that there had been no such sum in their 
hands, that all the late Captain's assets did not amount to a hundred pounds, 
and that the five hundred pounds in question must be a separate sum, of 
which Major Dobbin knew the particulars. More than ever convinced 
that there was some roguery, old Sedley pursued the Major. As his 
daughter's nearest friend, he demanded, with a high hand, a statement of 
the late Captain's accounts. Dobbin's stammering, blushing, and 
awkwardness added to the other's convictions that he had a rogue to deal 
with; and in a majestic tone he told that officer a piece of his mind, as he 
called it, simply stating his belief that the Major was unlawfully detaining 
his late son-in-law's money. 

Dobbin at this lost all patience, and if his accuser had not been so old 
and so broken, a quarrel might have ensued between them at the Slaughter 
Coffee-house, in a box of which place of entertainment the gentlemen had 
their colloquy. "Come up stairs, Sir," lisped out the Major. "I 
insist on your coming up the stairs, and I will show which is the 
injured party, poor George or I ; " and, dragging the old gentleman up to 
his bed-room, he produced from his desk Osborne's accounts, and a bundle 
of I U which the latter had given, who, to do him justice, was always 
ready to give an 1 U. " He paid his bills in England," Dobbin added, 
" but he had not a hundred pounds in the world when he fell. I and one 
or two of his brother-officers made up the little sum, which was all that we 
could spare, and you dare to tell us that we are trying to cheat the widow and 
orphan." Sedley was very contrite and humbled, though the fact is, that 
William Dobbin had told a great falsehood to the old gentleman ; having 
himself given every shilling of the money, having buried his friend, and 






A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO. 351 

paid all the fees and charges incident upon the calamity and removal of 
poor Amelia. 

About these expenses old Osborne had never given himself any trouble 
to think, nor any other relative of Amelia, nor Amelia herself, indeed. 
She trusted to Major Dobbin as an accountant, took his somewhat con- 
fused calculations for granted : and never once suspected how much she 
was in his debt. 

Twice or thrice in the year, according to her promise, she wrote him 
letters to Madras, letters all about little Georgy. How he treasured these 
papers ! "Whenever Amelia wrote he answered, and not until then. But 
he sent over endless remembrances of himself to his godson and to her. 
He ordered and sent a box of scarfs, and a grand ivory set of chess-men 
from China. The pawns were little green and white men, with real swords 
and shields ; the knights were on horseback, the castles were on the backs 
of elephants. "Mrs. Mango's own set at the Pineries was not so fine," 
Mr. Pestler remarked. These chess-men were the delight of Georgy's 
life, who printed his first letter in acknowledgment of this gift of his 
godpapa. He sent over preserves and pickles, which latter the young 
gentleman tried surreptitiously in the sideboard, aad half-killed himself 
with eating. He thought it was a judgment upon him for stealing, they 
were so hot. Emmy wrote a comical little account of this mishap to the 
Major : it pleased him to think that her spirits were rallying, and that she 
could be merry sometimes now. He sent over a pair of shawls, a white 
one for her, and a black one with palm-leaves for her mother, and a pair 
of red scarfs, as winter wrappers, for old Mr. Sedley and George. The 
shawls were worth fifty guineas a piece at the very least, as Mrs. Sedley 
knew. She wore hers in state at church at Brompton, and was congratu- 
lated by her female friends upon the splendid acquisition. Emmy's, too, 
became prettily her modest black gown. " What a pity it is she wont think 
of him," Mrs. Sedley remarked to Mrs. Clapp, and to all her friends of 
Brompton. " Jos never sent us such presents, I am sure, and grudges us 
everything. It is evident that the Major is over head and ears in love 
with her : and yet, whenever I so much as hint it, she turns red and begins 
to cry, and goes and sits up stairs with her miniature. I'm sick of 
that miniature. I wish we had never seen those odious purse-proud 
Osbomes." 

■ Amidst such humble scenes and associates George's early youth was 
passed, and the boy grew up delicate, sensitive, imperious, woman-bred — 
domineering the gentle mother whom he loved with passionate affection. 
He ruled all the rest of the little world round about him. As he grew, the 
elders were amazed at his haughty manner and his constant likeness to his 
father. He asked questions about everything, as inquiring youth will do. 
The profundity of his remarks and interrogatories astonished his old 
grandfather, who perfectly bored the club at the tavern with stories about 
the little lad's learning and genius. He suf